So 27 hours 23 minutes after I left Melbourne I finally arrived back at TBIR Towers. The Fuller family were all there to welcome me home and on hindsight I might have appeared a tad rude when I ignored their smiles and embraces and inquired why nobody had the Germany v Ghana game on the TV. “Welcome home, Stu…We’ve missed you” was the response from The Current Mrs Fuller, which more than a sarcastic hint in her voice. But she still has World Cup fever like the rest of us and any annoyance she held about my arrival was soon filed away, ready to be brought back out in 90 minutes time.
Before the tournament many would have expect this to be a game that Germany had to win to stay in the competition. Heck, even a few German friends of mine suggested that a draw here could see them on the verge of leaving Brazil early, whilst Ghana would be riding into the Estadio Castelao with a comfortable win versus the US under their belt. But football has a habit of always surprising us (such as Glen Johnson still being picked for England as a defender) and Germany’s routing of Portugal and Ghana’s defeat by the US had meant it was the Africans who needed the win from this encounter.
1. “Don’t close your eyes!” – I can still remember my first football coach chucking cold water over us if we closed our eyes when he went to head the ball, trying to instill Pavlovian fear into us so that we would literally keep our eye on the ball. It was therefore amusing to see £30 million Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Götze close his eyes as he attempted to head in Thomas Muller’s cross, making some contact before the ball fell onto his knee and into the net.
2. Stepping up – I think it is fair to say that few Sunderland fans will fondly remember Asamoah Gyan’s spell at The Stadium of Light. Ten goals from a season’s effort for the £13 million player although he always seemed to be moaning (through his agent of course) about something. Rumours last season that he would end up at Upton Park (“He’s my type of player” said Allardyce – a great endorsement) proved unfounded, thankfully. But put him in the shirt of his home nation and he is a leader. A very well taken goal and a little wiggle to boot.
3. Brothers – Can’t believe the TV didn’t pick up the whole Boateng brothers being on opposite sides thing? Oh, they did?
4. Possession football – Germany had over 60% of the possession yet only managed 4 shots on goal to Ghana’s 6. The new Spain? You heard it first here.
5. Form is temporary, luck is permenant – Klose scored with his first touch of the ball to become the joint leading scorer in World Cup history with 15 goals. Could he miss from a yard out? Of course he couldn’t but it is always about the instinct, knowing where the ball may just go that makes some players “luckier” than others. A great player, who has stayed at the top of his game for years. I wouldn’t bet against him scoring again before the tournament ends to break the record.
The Beer World Cup
Despite a few free drinks at the bar on the A380 I had to get back into the swing of the Beer World Cup so it was a case of Guinness Export Strength v Paulaner. Probably not the best idea after a long day of travel but the World Cup is only with us every four years, right?
Germany 2 Ghana 1
The Kit World Cup – Day Ten
Adidas – 25
Nike – 24
Puma – 19
Lotto – 6
Marathon – 3
Burrda – 3
Uhlsport – 1