Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
In a slow-rolling World Cup without much goal-mouth action, Germany peeled out of the starting gate and never took its foot off the pedal, leaving Australia’s Socceroos slumped in a heap of exotic roadkill.
No team has started this World Cup better, and it’s hard to imagine any team getting off to a better start in the tournament’s first week.
The Socceroos actually got a solid chance to collect a garbage goal in the first few minutes, but couldn’t quite sneak the ball in. Had they scored first, it may have changed the flow of the game.
A beautiful machine
Instead, it was all Germany all the time in a stunning display of speed, organization, and economy of movement.
Lukas Podolski – a young star of the last World Cup, on his country’s home soil – struck first in the eighth minute with a blast too powerful for the goalkeeper to stop.
Next up? The top scorer from the last World Cup, Miroslav Klose, who found the back of the net with a brilliant header.
Then, Muller and Cacau scored back-to-back in the second half.
But it wasn’t the goals that were so impressive. Goals come when you control the match.
It was the movement off the ball, the runs to space, the coordination. What the world witnessed was a beautiful machine operating exactly as it should.
“There are certain teams like Italy, Germany and England that play a very good game, a strong game,” he said. “They are defensive and decisive but ... it’s difficult to imagine them playing the beautiful game.”
I wonder what he has to say about this German team he just saw.
There may not have been jaw-dropping displays of individual talent. No Ronaldinho-esque dribbling clinics. No deftly chipping the ball over a defender while stroking your silky locks before driving a bicycle kick into the back of the net.
But the whooping Germany put on the Socceroos was a thing of beauty. Admit it, Pele.
Asked for his analysis on why Germany looked so strong, former German star and current ESPN commentator Jurgen Klinsmann said the reason was simple: “The team’s having fun. They’re having a good time.”
If Germany continues to have that much fun in the rest of the tournament, it’s hard to see any of their opponents having any fun at all.
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