Thursday, June 12, 2008

Germans Invincible, Lose

Joachim Low's Germany squad, doubted prior to the start of Euro 2008 but then immediately considered invincible following a run-of-the-mill 2-0 defeat of an ordinary Poland side, lost to Croatia.

"The strength of Germany's midfield is what would have made the difference against Croatia, theoretically," Andy Gray said following the Croats' 2-1 win. "Croatia might have won the game, deservingly so, but in Michael Ballack, Germany have a midfield lynchpin that I, for one, think would make the difference if they were to play Croatia again, and not lose."

Germany's defeat followed the shock capitulation of Italy to Holland. The defending world champions were expected to mount a serious challenge, but chose to start 10 players over 30, ignoring young talent like Daniele DeRossi. Italy now joins France as much-ballyhooed sides who might in fact turn out to be hilariously shit - whereas the Dutch have now raised expectations and set themselves up for the kind of tragic failure for which they've become famous.

So who will emerge from the Group of Death? Perhaps all four teams - or perhaps none of them.

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