02 July, 2006

Don’t Cry For Me: Germany 1 Argentina 1 AET (Germany win 4-2 on penalties)

The problem with watching the World Cup is that some people insist, ridiculously, on having birthdays, leaving jobs and getting married during the tournament. Clearly such things should be suspended for a month, or at least held on the days without matches, but some people just don’t get it.

And so it is that I find myself in a pub watching Germany versus Argentina, hoping that when others arrive they will not drag me away from the match. They turn up after 20 minutes, during which not a great deal has happened, and having ascertained that there aren’t any free tables in the pub, the decision is made to go outside.

I go with the flow and am reduced to popping in now and then to check on the progress of the game. There is no goal in the first half but just a few minutes into the second Argentina are ahead, Ayala the scorer from a corner. Ten minutes before full time Miroslav Klose puts Germany level and extra time is called for.

I manage to persuade my companions that we really should be watching this, and we head inside for the extra half hour. It isn’t much to write home about, and a penalty shootout looks to be inevitable.

Sure enough the match comes down to spot kicks, and only a fool would bet against the Germans. Jens Lehmann saves two, the crucial stop being Argentina’s fourth, from Cambiasso. The hosts are through and the best team in the tournament are going home.

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