09 July, 2006

Deutschland Uber Alles Ausser Zwei: Germany 3 Portugal 1

The play-off game is rarely considered to be of any importance. By way of demonstration, here's a question for any English supporter - what happened when England played Italy in the 1990 play-off? It's unlikely that you know or care whether your team won third place.

I miss the first half hour of the match having completely forgotten that it is happening, and then see only a couple of minutes of the first half before I have to leave for the pub, where I am able to watch the second period. For perhaps the first time in my life I find myself supporting Germany, in view of Portugal's recent performances.

The home team are clearly stronger than Portugal, who are subjected to another hostile reaction from the partisan crowd. Bastian Schweinsteiger puts them ahead after 56 minutes and after that they never look like being beaten. An own goal by Petit makes it two and Schweinsteiger gets another. Nuno Gomes gets a consolation goal but with only 4 minutes to go it is too little, too late.

Whether anyone really cares may be in doubt, but it has been an entertaining match and it seems fair that the Germans get something out of a tournament they have hosted very well.

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