LEHMANN AND THE WHISTLE BLOWERS

July 01, 2008 |

Anyone that thinks Germany should’ve won Euro ’08 might want to borrow a good pair of glasses and a TiVo’d copy of the game. Or if you’re like goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and feel that the referees robbed the Germans of victory, methinks you should spend less time packing the pipe with your own socks.
Was the officiating bad? Egregious is more to the point; but let us not forget that some poor officiating paved the way for that very same final appearance. Lets’ look shall we….
The two-handed shove by captain Michael Ballack on Paulo Ferreira was the only reason he scored what proved to be the coup-de-grace in a tight, to that point, one goal quarter-final game against Portugal.
And then there is the German left back, hero and saviour in the semi-final. Phillip Lahm should not only not have not scored the winning goal against Turkey, he shouldn’t have been on the pitch when it happened. He had two blatantly bookable offences that simply melted into a landscape already littered with other poor refereeing decisions.
The blame game aside, quite frankly, it was an entirely undeserving German team that took the field on Sunday. They hobbled through the group stages amassing 6 points in what was probably the weakest of all four groups, limping by Austria 1-0 and getting beaten by a resolute and freshly-racist Croatia.
In the knock-out stages they were fortunate that the Portuguese defense never left the dressing room, and that Turkey was kind enough to show up sans 9 key figures in the semi’s – a game Turkey deserved to win on effort alone (that, and they outshot the Germans by a ratio of 2:1).
Did the Germans play some good football? Of course they did. They are still Germany, evergreens in the world game with some staggering talent and ordinarily inspired coaching. They’ve won 3 European Championships and as many World Cups. But this year they simply did not deserve to get a seat at the table when they were so frequently out-classed.
So contrary to Mr. Lehmann’s myopic appraisal of proceedings (in fairness, it is around 38 years old when the sight usually does start to falter), the truest indication of what should’ve happened actually did happen. For a change.

And on a happier note, DC United showed the star-studded LA Galaxy a warm and goal-filled Sunday afternoon, helping themselves to four goals and a win at home over Mr. Beckham and co.

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