EURO 2008 SF: Germany 3-2 Turkey, Basel
Boral 22′, Schweinsteiger 27′, Klose 79′, Semturk 86′, Lahm 90′
“They can play games like this, when maybe they are not the best team, and still win. That is why they are so good.”
Fatih Terim, Turkey’s coach, could have uttered these words tonight, but in fact it was Bruce Arena after Germany had edged the States 1-0 in Ulsan in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final.
Only two years ago, we were talking about how Qq Poker long, or rather short, Germany would last at home in the World Cup. Jurgen Klinsmann’s team had been the most inept German ‘elftal’ (eleven) in living memory in the run-up to the 2006 tournament, but then surprised the doubters by reaching the semi-final.
Now the Mannschaft have reached the EURO 2008 final with a 3-2 win over an arguably better team, nodding heads are attributing their triumph to simply being German, a synonym for depressingly successful.
A Protestant work ethic (Colombia’s Achilles Heel), physical force and endeavour (Portugal’s downfall), mental toughness (the Dutch weakness), self-belief (count out the Spaniards), efficient organisation (bye-bye England) and a resolve to keep fighting until the end (Au revoir Les Bleus) in an ‘all for one, one for all’ spirit of teamwork have been in the German genes for so long, their roll of honour comes as no surprise:
SEVEN World Cup finals (won three of them) and SIX European championship finals (won …