Friday, June 30, 2006

Today two freight trains collide. Germany meets Argentina to clash for the first semi-final ticket. The teams are no stranger of each other, this is a classic meeting. Germany plays at home, and black-red-yellow covers most of the stadium.
When the Argentinean anthem plays, I see none of the Argentineans sing along. When the Germany chants their 'Deutschland uber alles', I want to hit the bomb shelter.
Argentina kicks off, they start in a whistle-concert. Germany starts rough, the first foul is in the first minute. Klose, for Germany offers a handshake to an Argentinean player. The Argentinean scuffs him out of his path. However, they play soccer too. Germany circles the ball in short fast passes, Argentinean own medicine. Argentina fences Germany from the penalty box and the best chances are from a distance.
A free kick from thirty meters bounces awkward and the Argentinean keeper needs two dives to secure the ball.
Germany cannot force an early goal and Argentina grows into the match.
"Argentina is trying to cover," says the commentator while Argentina refuses Germany to infiltrate their box.
Argentina steals the ball, triggering thousands of whistles of the bleaches. When Ballack heads the ball on foot over the crossbar, the bleaches roar.
My telephone rings.
"Germany or Argentina," asks the caller.
"Don’t' know, could be either," I answer. "Maybe penalty kicks."
In the start of the second half Argentina achieves momentum. Argentina takes a corner and sends the ball one and a half meters high in face of the goal, too low for German defenders, perfectly tailored for an Argentinean striker. The small Argentinean dives through the tall Germans, and heads the ball into the German net.


Shortly Argentina silences the German fans.
The Germans compose and take possession of the ball.
"The German crowd is trying to inspire their team," says the commentator, while the Germans under heavy air support invade on Argentinean soil.
In the seventy-ninth minute, Klose, for Germany, closes the deal. A fellow member of the manschaft heads the ball to the right post. Klose sticks his head in the path of the ball and sends it to the left corner.

Argentinean tries to counter, and so does Germany. Fatigues set in and the game drags to overtime.
"Both sides are absolutely dog tired," says the commentator while a long shot of Argentina bounces on top of the crossbar.
He is right, the players on the field are happy to hold on to penalties. Both nations have a flawless record, confidence is high. However, one nation will be introduced with the drama of penalties.
Germany is first.
"That is one for Germany," counts the commentator.
An Argentinean striker lines up the ball under loud whistles and yowling. He stays cool.
"Each side has one."
Ballack, for Germany walks to the penalty spot.

"Sticks it."
Lehman, the German keeper saves the next shot of Argentina, the crowd irrupts.
Germany takes their third shot.


"Nailed it."
Argentina is under pressure but fights. The next strike is for them.
Germany strikes back.
"He must make it to extend the penalty kicks," says the commentator while an Argentinean makes speed to strike his shot.
The pressure proves too much. Lehman, the German keeper blocks the last ball. Argentina is beaten. Suddenly their dream is gone.
Germany burst into ecstasy, they are the first semi-finalist.