Since my mate K, in an uncharacteristic expression of EXTREMELY BAD TASTE, decided to praise the German national squad, I feel forced to retaliate.
OK, what's wrong with Germany?
The country itself, nothing much. They're a bit keen on authority and uniforms and fat female customs officials... but I digress. They're a comical bunch abroad, hesitant to speak a foreign language and dead insecure. On the upside, a lot of them mistook me for a native New Yorker even though I did not have a clue where "ze muzeum of ze modern arts" was. God bless them.
There is another battlefield though. And that means it's war! World war 32 or something by now, but anyway, we don't care. As long as they lose.
The dispiriting thing is, they don't really do that. They have no style, hardly any qualities, maybe only one or two star players and a truly frightening goal keeper who recently decided to retire, but they more than make up for that in fighting spirit.
And Germany losing bravely in a squeaker is not really satisfying either. We want to see total humiliation. The Dutch and our friends from across the channel are in total agreement on this. But the facts are horrid: the Germans qualified easily, whereas the four UK nations are sadly missing...
So I'll put this in terms K will understand and dread: the Germans are the Hillary Clintons of international football. Totally dedicated, and they'll never give up. And it usually works, though at Euro 2000 and 2004 they didn't make it past the group phase, partly because no-one can stand losing to them even if winning doesn't really matter.
Problem is, I see no Obama among the other 15 squads. But the Italians, with an average age of about 250, are credible candidates to do a John McCain and take the trophy home. ;-)
I need to finish this in style, so I think I'll need some non-German Euro 2008 eye candy. Shouldn't be too difficult. ;-)
My darling Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who'll probably be spending a lot of time on the bench... :-( Move over, Van Nistelrooy!
An acquired taste, Liverpool's Fernando Torres... but he might become Spain's much-needed powerhouse.
Switzerland's Degen brothers, David and Philipp.