Friday, June 09, 2006

Finally, the finals. World Cup fever peaks.
I run over my checklist, laptop, TV, radio, internet, everything is ready, I am more then ready. The World Cup in Germany, this is going to be history. For a Dutch man like me 'Germany' and 'World Cup' in one sentence means 1974 World Cup Final. Johan Neeskens, making one nil right at the start, had fourteen million Netherlanders on World-Champion-cloud nine. Then Muller, right at the end, awoke a nation with a kick in the nuts, 2-1 for the Germans. Yes of course we had our revenge in the 1988 European Championships semi-final, but this comes closer. Thinking of top organizer Franz Beckenbauer, the German 'Johan Cruyff' in 1974, this one is for Johan. Franz was a star player for Germany in 1974 and is maybe their all-time best player.
The three times World Champions start today with a 'sure thing', if you go by the bookies. The 'manschaft' of Jeurgen Klinsman faces an unlikely candidate to bring home the cup, but the Germans are out of shape and Costa Rico might just upset the tournament right from the start. After all, they finished with the last sixteen in 1990. Few people always remind me that the ball is round and can roll in any direction, let us see how right they are. Maybe coach Alexandre Guimardes of Costa Rica can offset the 500 to one odds at the bookies.
The parade off adds on the television come to an end, then the referee blowing the whistle. The 2006 world cup finals have begun.
Costa Rico comes out with a little attack, but the response of the Germans brings the stadium to life. In the seventh minute Germany shakes the grounds in Munchen, Germany shoots the ball from just outside the penalty box in the right corner.

The stadium awakes. However, five minutes later a reality check, Costa Rico breaks from behind the invisible offside line and gets a one on one with the German keeper. The striker from Costa Rica keeps his cool and places the ball past the keeper of the 'manschaft'.
Now the sounds of the tribunes get more cautious, but as German takes more control the fans get louder.
Then Germany relives old glory. The game is now a game as the ball bounces from Germany to Costa Rica. Germany slowly gets control, the Costa Rica slowly gets frustrated, and the first Yellow card of the tournament is in the 3o minute. Seven minutes later Costa Rico nearly profits again from an inside counter, but this time the referee blows back the one on one with the keeper, offside.
Germany plays the ball around Costa Rica penalty box, comfortable in control of the game. Podolski shoots the ball over the crossbar from a free kick, the crowd roars.
But towards the end of the first half another one on one from Costa Rica with Lehman the German keeper, but again offside.

Then through blatter failure I missed a goal, but before halftime the score was again in favor of the Germans,

The second half Germany comes out strong again, although a serious chance comes in the 47th minute for Costa Rica as the number four heads the ball just wide from a corner.
The German fans grow in confidence, and so does their team. Three minutes later the number sixteen of Germany show how you head a ball from a corner.
Nevertheless, the game is not over as Costa Rica in the 73rd-minute gets a man free in the German penalty box. Offside, but the ref did not see it, the drama has begun.
Germany keeps on growing and gets closer and closer to another hit. In the 87th minute, the keeper of Costa Rica sees the ball flash over his fingertips and disappear in the far right corner.
"An absolute rocket," says the commentator.
I think that qualifies for the whole game, what a rocket.