Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup: Germany Can't Back Up Good First Game, Has Its Work Cut Out

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

It was a tale of two German teams on Friday.

As good as Germany looked in their 4-0 defeat against Australia, they were beatable in a 1-0 loss to Serbia (who had previously lost their first game against Ghana). It was akin to opposite day for the Germans.

While Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski showed their great World Cup form against Australia, both struggled terribly against Serbia. Klose received two yellow cards and was ejected before the first half ended, and Podolski was given a golden opportunity to put the Germans in position to earn a draw but his penalty kick was saved by Serbian keeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

The yellows Klose received were a bit questionable, the two-time World Cup veteran should have known better, especially on the second card. He will now be ejected for the match against Ghana

In the first game the German youngsters made a huge impact on the game. In the second group play game they showed their young age and inexperience.

Defender Holger Badstuber helped the Germans keep a clean sheet against Australia however he was abused down the flank by Serbian midfielder Milos Krasic. Krasic used a combination of speed and change of direction to keep Badstuber on his heels and constantly chasing him.

Mesut Ozil was extremely dangerous the first game, making a ton of runs. However, Serbia clogged up the middle of the field and left no space for Ozil to dart through, rendering him ineffective.

Then there was Thomas Muller. A goal scorer against the Socceroos, Muller was invisible against the White Eagles. Out on the right flank his name was hardly ever mentioned and he supplied nothing to the attack.

It was not a good day for Die Mannschaft but there were still a little bit of optimism to take out of the game. Even with only 10 men on the field, the Germans did hold a 58% to 42% possession advantage and really pushed hard for the equalizer while not breaking on the counter. Had they had a full team on the pitch, and especially not been without one of their best players, the outcome could’ve been different.

Still, it was a loss and the Germans will need to bounce back because they are not in an easy situation.

Currently, the Germans are tied for second in the group with Serbia, who will play Australia next. The Aussies are last in the group and although they will have Tim Cahill back, they will be without Harry Kewell who received a red card against Ghana.

Ghana heads the group with four points and will not be an easy opponent. Asomoah Gyan has looked quite impressive this World Cup and is a very speedy, goal-hungry striker. Watching how Badstuber was unable to contain Krasic, Gyan might focus his attack in that direction.

The Black Stars might also follow the Serbians lead and put an extra midfielder in the center of the pitch in order to lessen the space Ozil has to run through. Ozil will be an important player in the German attack without Klose available, and if he cannot get going the team may have a little trouble scoring.

Much like the Germans shouldn’t have believed they would win the World Cup after a great game one performance, they shouldn’t feel too down about game two; a win against Ghana and the Germans advance to the knockout stage.

That being said, it won’t be as easy a path as the team anticipated and the work has definitely been cut out for them.

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