It’s a conundrum for English national team fans, who to support out of the football and cricket arch-enemies. But it’s not a problem for long as the game is over as a debating point within the first quarter.
In the ITV studio, Edgar Davids is making it clear that it’s “C’mon Aussie, C’mon” for him. He looks perplexed when Adrian Chiles brings up England’s propensity to lose to Oz at rugby and cricket. He’s clearly not sure what rugby and cricket are; but he looks just as puzzled at every question Chiles asks.
Chiles is on full “Match of the Day 2” mode – which doesn’t translate well to a three-man panel for whom English is a second language, Kevin Keegan especially. We even get a “2 Good 2 Bad” segment in all but name, as we see some foreign match officials warming up in tandem. What larks, although probably not as funny as when Howard Webb starts refereeing for real.
The two Jims, Rosenthal and Beglin, remind us that we’re in a winter World Cup with a match preview that sounds like it’s from cue cards. Beglin introduces us to the German manager “Jocky Love” and later brings his brother “Yogi Love” into play.
Joachim Loew, for it is he, gets a booting for his sartorial inelegance but there’s a guy stood next to him in an identical suit and sweatshirt combo who gets away with it, even down to the red and yellow pocket handkerchief. This can’t be because no-one at ITV knows who he is…can it?
The game isn’t two minutes old when Germany first forget to mark Tim Cahill at a corner. But he mis-kicks horribly and Richard Garcia’s swipe at the loose ball hits the smallest target on the pitch, German captain Phillip Lahm. Keegan is quick with the “if that had gone in we’d be talking about a different game” cliché.
The focus is on how Cahill will cope on his own up front. Despite Cahill fulfilling the role for Everton, not long ago, no-one on ITV seems to know. Mind you, BBC had the rights. However, the Socceroos’ main problems are H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man at left-back and their L-shaped offside trap.
Lukas Podolski drives home the opener on eight minutes – keeper Marc Schwarzer can only parry it into the net, and whilst it is no howler, Fulham aren’t name checked thereafter.
Mesut Oezil has Marty Feldman’s eyes, which doesn’t help when he tries to illicit sympathy from the “card-happy” Mexican ref after an outrageous dive. He’s the best player on the park by miles, though. And when Miroslav Klose heads home goal number two past a flapping, utterly disowned Schwarzer, the entire German team start to look just as assured.
Klose is profligate in front of goal and thereby turns up the chance to match Gerd Muller’s German World Cup finals scoring record of 14. Klose’s goal against Australia was his eleventh. And the fact that he scored five times in each of the last two Finals competition is already an over-used one.
Match commentator Peter Drury tries to suggest that Muller was a childhood idol of Klose’s but this seems improbable give that Muller retired when Klose was barely a year old, growing up in…Poland.
Lucas Neill is booked seconds after the re-start, as if the ref, Mexico’s Marco Rodriguez, simply forgot to do it during the first half and was looking to correct this oversight at the first opportunity. At least Neill is a bit more mobile than some colleagues, having fouled Germans all over the pitch, and made a wonderful goalline clearance from Marty Feldman.
But it’s Cahill who gets the raw deal, pulling out of a potentially dangerous tackle from behind. Rodriguez can’t have seen it, otherwise Cahill wouldn’t even have received a yellow.
Such is Rodriguez’s well-documented propensity for dismissing players, Australia might have been well-advised to keep things extra tight and wait for to even things up. The flaw in the plan is that teams struggle to commit fouls when they have the ball all the time, and Schwarzer is making a save a minute by this stage – one from new German striker Klosaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Thomas Muller, who Drury might have down as Gerd’s brother, makes it 3-0 midway through the half. And Loew gives a couple of strikers a run out as substitutes.
Brazilian-born Cacau is well-placed to make it four within a minute of coming on but Sami Khedira inexplicably avoids passing to him. Before we can dwell too long on why, Marty Feldman does pass to Cacau who does make it four.
Loew puts a fifth striker on. But as Mario Gomez is utterly useless Germany have to declare at four, which is still a goalfest for this competition. Marty Feldman is man of the match.
Back in the studio, Keegan says Cahill should have known that “any foul is a yellow card,” – a FIFA directive that passed under the radar. Chiles has to start each sentence twice in a rare display of nerves – or Keegan-induced madness.
And there’s a consensus that Germany have the competition in the proverbial bag, while Australia’s chances without Cahill have apparently turned to dust. “Danger! The Germans are at it again!” blurts out Drury, neglecting to say what “it” is.
They are the first big name to show their form. But they are the first big name to play against ten-man Australia – “poor, poor Australia,” as Jim Beglin would have it. It’s too early to make any fundamental judgment on them, of course. But that never stopped pundits in the past. And it doesn’t today.
Our thanks to Historical Football Kits for allowing us to use their images in this report.