PORTUGAL - GERMANY

"Germany hasn't shown its true face yet"

Germany qualified for the semi-finals, beating Portugal 3-2. , former national player, shares his point of view about the role of Mannschaft's captain Michael Ballack, the failure of striker Gomez and the poor referee decisions made in this tournament.

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After a convincing game against Poland, the Germans have shown difficulties in their battles against Croatia and Austria. They nonetheless qualified for the semi-finals, beating Portugal 3-2. Rainer Bonhof, former national player, shares his point of view about the role of Mannschaft's captain Michael Ballack, the failure of striker Gomez and the poor referee decisions made in this tournament.

'We need to play with passion or we will not be victorious'

It is true that Ballack played poorly in the first three matches, but it is thanks to him that the team has reached the quarter-finals. The true face of the German team has not yet shown itself. He is essential to the Mannschaft and I do not see Löw leaving him on the bench.

"Ich bin Ballack" (I am Ballack)

On this site you can become Germany's captain Michael Ballack by downloading this Photoshop template.

 

As for Gomez, expectations for him were too high before the Euro. It is true that he left his mark on the Bundesliga, finishing the season as the number two striker behind Luca Toni. But during the Euro, he was stopped in his tracks. In my opinion Joachim Löw predicted the changes, and I would not be surprised if Gomez is missing from the starting line-up against Portugal.

It is true that the last two matches did not build confidence. Our playing was not well-organised. Against the Portuguese we will need to use all our resources. We beat them in the 2006 World Cup third place match and psychologically that is important. We need to play with passion or we will not be victorious.

Joachim Löw and Josef Hickesberger being thrown out of the coaching area

The referee’s calls against Joachim Löw and Josef Hickersberger were absurd. The coach was only doing his job. There are matches where he does not need to get off of the bench and others where he never sits down. The rules should be changed because a coach is not there to watch the match like a spectator. As for the decision on Monday night (note: during the Austria-Germany match the two coaches were sent before the referee board). The fourth referee does not understand the pressures on the coach in such a match, with the weight of all the passionate fans on the coach’s shoulders. The ref is a bureaucrat, he only knows rules, and thus makes the coach sit down. The ref is not interested in the stakes and consequences of his decisions, therefore the rule must be changed. As a whole, I find the referees of this Euro are poorly trained.."

'Germany back to old ruthless ways'

Football is a simple game played by 22 players, and in the end, Germany win." How true Gary Lineker's famous quip has been over the years. Yet, for the past decade, defeat to the German squad was no longer a foregone conclusion - at least until yesterday, when the Mannschaft once again lived up to its ruthless reputation.

As an England fan, I know exactly how painful an encounter with the German team can be. At every World Cup or Euro, I know that sooner or later my team will lose on penalties - particularly if we're playing Germany. Two bitter defeats immediately come to mind: our semi-final exits in 1990 and 1996, both against Germany, both on penalties, both in a game England should have won.

In fact the Germans haven't lost a penalty shoot-out in a major tournament since Euro 1976 (in contrast, England crashed out on penalties in 5 of their last 6 major tournaments).

Germany are the quintessential winners. Thorough, organised, disciplined, efficient - all qualities that have traditionally defined the German team and yesterday made all the difference against Portugal. What other team is able to score out of every chance it has? Who else could have defeated the Mighty Magyars of Ferenc Puskas, not to mention Johan Cruijff's memorable Dutch side?

As good as Germany were last night, Felipe Scolari's men deserve full blame for their inability to make good on their technical superiority. In the game's opening stages, some of their passing play was exquisite. After Germany's second and third goals, however, it became frantic. Meanwhile, their defending was simply shocking.

Ultimately, Portugal lost because they had no clue how to defend set pieces. The ease with which Germany scored their 2nd and 3rd was ludicrous. Still, the formidable attacking potential of Ronaldo & co could have turned the tide the other way. But, as the Portuguese guns ran out of ideas, Germany proved to be more of a team.

The Mannschaft is still only a pale shadow of its former glory. But, crucially, it has recovered the key qualities that have earned Germany so many trophies over the years. Its players are no flashy football VIPs like England is fond of producing. But unlike their old English foes, they know what it takes to win a game. Germany are back, and this means trouble for us all."