Tag: Germany

The Twohundredpercent Vault: When The Two Germanies Collided, 1974

The Cold War spread insiduously into every aspect of life between the end of the second world war and the end of the 1980s, and sport was no exception to this rule, whether it was the Soviets and Americans boycotting each others’ Olympic Games or Bobby Fischer facing off against Boris Spassky at chess in Rekjavik in 1972. Football was no exception to this rule, and perhaps the definitive meeting of captialism and communism on the football pitch came at the 1974 World Cup finals, when West Germany played East Germany in the group stage of the competition. Although the match was played at a time of relative detente in the overall scheme of the war itself, it was played at a time of high tension. The 1972 Olympic Games had been the scene of the Munich hostage crisis, and the recent actions of the Red Army Faction further intensified the nervousness surround the competition. Security was tight to the extent that guards with dogs patrolled the entrance of the West German team’s training camp, and the sense of unease spread into the camp itself, where a dispute over pay that threatened the appearance of several of the squad’s key players. Even the weather seemed to descend into pathetic fallacy, with pouring rain marring much of he early stages of the tournament. The dispute was resolved, but West Germany’s...

Read More

The 2011 Women’s World Cup: Group A Preview

It’s now less than two weeks until the 2011 Women’s World Cup starts in Germany, and over the next couple of weeks or so we’ll be taking the time to bring you a quick run-down of all of the teams that are taking part in this year’s competition. FIFA had considered increasing the number of teams entering this year’s tournament to twenty-four, and then to twenty. The former number was rejected because it was considered that increasing to number would dilute the competition too much (critics of women’s football were arguably handed ammunition when Germany beat Argentina 11-0 in the opening match of the last tournament), whilst the latter, just as logically, was rejected as being entirely unworkable. This year’s qualification period started just over two years ago, and ended in November of last year. First up is the group featuring the hosts and defending world and European champions, Germany; Group A. Germany (Tournament Odds – 11/10): Winners of the last two World Cups as well as the last European Championships and the host nation for this year’s showpiece event, if women’s football could be described as “coming home”, then it surely is for Germany this summer. Everywhere we look in their squad for this summer sits the mark of sheer quality. With a mixture of older and younger players, the balance between youth and experience is delicately woven...

Read More

Video Of The Week: Football & Fascism

As some of you may have noticed, we’ve restarted the “Video Of The Week” section on the site, and this week we have a particular treat for you in the form of the outstanding BBC documentary from 2003, “Football & Fascism”. This film traces the link between three fascist dictators of the twentieth century – Mussonlini, Hitler and Franco – and football, focussing on Mussolini’s, ahem, “hands on” approach towards the 1934 World Cup finals, the importance placed upon Germany’s performances at the 1936 Olympic Games and the 1938 World Cup finals and General Franco’s use of Real Madrid to bolster his popularity in Spain. That this is a BBC documentary is, of course, as much as you need to know in so far as an assurance of quality is concerned. Excellently researched, with some fascinating archive footage (the 1934 World Cup finals, for example, come alive before your very eyes in a way that is seldom seen elsewhere) and interviews with both historians and players that were there at the time, this is essential viewing to understand how football, for an ideology that was fundamentally atheist, was plied into being, to a lesser or greater extent, an opiate for the masses. It is critical that we remember that, just as the game can be a force for good, it can also be a force for evil and that...

Read More

World Cup 2010: Germany 3-2 Uruguay

“Let’s make this a celebration,” intones ITV commentator Peter Drury, before kick-off, and millions of people, all at once, think, “yeah, lose your voice.” Uruguay’s national anthem is what Billy Connolly had in mind all those years ago when he suggested replacing ‘God Save the Queen’ with the theme tune to ‘The Archers.’ It’s one of the things from this World Cup that I’ll remember, and I’ll miss it now it’s gone, for four years at least. La Celeste are wearing blue shorts for no obvious reason – Germany are in their change kit equally inexplicably, have Wednesday’s shirts not come back from the laundry? – and they look more like Coventry City with each misplaced pass. Germany full-back Dennis Aogo’s World Cup is nearly over before it’s begun as an early studs-up challenge nearly snaps Diego Perez’s leg in two. But as Adrian Chiles rightly points out, Perez is either made of girders or rubber. I still wish he’d come up against Javier Mascherano in this tournament, then we’d have seen who was the proper midfield enforcer and who was the West Ham reject. It’s all Germany for a bit, though. “The first team to bring expansive football to World Cup 2010,” claims Drury, clean forgetting Argentina the day before Germany kicked-off. While Drury’s at the mic, it seems like it’s been a long World Cup. He’s certainly...

Read More

World Cup 2010: Germany 0-1 Spain

Two years is not a long time in football, especially when you consider that national sides evolve, certainly more than club sides. In that respect, you would have expected quite a few rematches from European Championship finals happening in subsequent World Cups. However, of the twenty-six finalists in the first thirteen European Championships, six of them have failed to qualify (including Czecholslovakia Denmark and Greece, who were European Championships), and three others have failed to get out of the group stages. This is the first time since 1986 when both of the European Championship finalists have made it past the first round, and only the fourth time since the European Championships kicked off in 1960 – and this is the first time since that initial competition that the finalists have met in the next World Cup. In France in 1960, the Soviet Union needed extra time to defeat Yugoslavia 2-1, and two years later in Chile, the reigning European Champions were once again victorious, this time keeping a clean sheet as they ran out 2-0 winners, both times Viktor Ponedelnik scoring the decisive goal. Spain, will be hoping for history to repeat itself, although the winning goalscorer from that night in Vienna two years ago is on the bench – his lack of fitness finally costing him his starting place. Vincente Del Bosque replaces him with Barcelona’s Pedro. It...

Read More