First of all: Congratulations to the seleccion, the Spanish team for winning the cup. They certainly proved to have deserved it by playing very a controlled, fast and high standard football that was also very agreeable to watch.
I don’t remember having predicted anything but I have certainly be surprised a couple of times. The supremacy of the Netherlands in their group came not totally unexpected but their tragic (and deserved) defeat against Russia struck me.
The very fact that Spain was able to beat Italy in the quarter finals also proved to be unexpected, even though we knew Italy was not as strong as two years ago.
Turkey surprised most: with an unbelievable “Teamgeist” they fought themselves back in no less than three matches. In the preliminary round they scored two goals against Switzerland and then three goals against Czech Republich (with the surprising blackout of Peter Czech) in 15 minutes. But in the playoffs against Croatia they scored the most unbelievable goal I ever beheld: In the extra time, just after the Croatian goal, when everybody was absolutely sure that this had been it – the equalizer. Unbelievable. All the excitement that had been missing in 118 minutes put into 5 minutes.
Surprising also that Germany managed to beat Portugal. In retrospect, having seen all the German matches, I can only say that they must have played so well on mistake. Ballack, who was said to be one of the best midfielders of the tournament, disappointed me. He was unable to do what a leader should be able to do: give an example and push himself and the team to the limit. When everything went well, he was good, but when against Croatia, Turkey and Spain the match wasn’t going according to plan, Ballack and the German team seemed to be unable to fight themselves back into the match. Too many missed passes, not enough running without the ball (what I mean is that the players have to run toward or away from the player in possesion of the ball to give him the opportunity to pass), stupid fouls. Very probably the team could not compensate the loss of Bernd Schneider who could not play due to a herniated disc. What was not entirely unexpected though was the German ability to make it to the final only to lose it. [World Championships 1966 (winner: England), 1982 (winner: Italy), 1986 (winner: Argentina), 2002 (winner: Brasil) and European Championships 1976 (winner: Checzoslovakia), 1992 (winner: Denmark) and 2008 (we know that one)].
I am quite content with the overall outcome of this sporting event. There was some really good football to be watched and it was quite thrilling. It was really good to see that Turkish and German people also did the unexpected thing and celebrated together instead of fighting each other after the match. In Cologne there was only one very local riot (in the pub next to the one we watched the match in) which was started by hooligans. The police had already identified them beforehand and was therefore able to stop it very quickly and take them into custody. Tanja and I went to see all the matches in pubs, though not at “public viewing” sites (yes, I know, it’s not proper English, but that’s how Germans call it). There is a reason: with more people to watch you get more of a stadium, mass experience. On those massive scale public gatherings for the purpose of football watching there is, on the one hand, the massive scale stadium experience but as a drawback on the other hand, 90 percent of the people have, although wholehartedly supporting Germany, cladly dressed in black, red and gold, no idea whatsoever about how to play football. They came for the party, not for the match, which can be very irritating for a real football fan. (They might ask you questions such as: Why is England not playing? When are we going to play Brasil?) Yesterday those people also took over the pub we looked the match in and disqualified themselves (in my point of view) by extremely obnoxious and rude behaviour:
1. They booed when the Spanish national anthem was played
2. They were unable to sing the German national anthem properly
3. They chanted nasty things (about Spaniard-Swines that were to be fucked in their arses). I was almost glad that Spain scored, because that shut their big mouths.
4. No matter what the referee did they complained. Fouls committed by Germans were dives by the Spanish and fouls the Spanish committed should have been penalized by red cards.
In short: ignorant people. Another incident: after the Portugal match there was a group of German motherfuckers who were dissing some Portugal-supporting girls when Tanja and I went home after the match. I told their leader “hey, you seem to be a bad winner! Leave them alone!” and he replied “You seem to be a bad German!” I was not exactly happy about that.
Unfortunately these things happen as well. But still, I’m satisfied. It was a really cool event with nice football. Now I’ll have to wait for another two years for getting close to heart attack again.