One by one, Germany is settling old scores.
First came England. Not only did the Germans beat their old rivals, they finally got payback for that goal-not-a-goal in 1966. Then it was pesky Argentina, in what’s fast becoming the World Cup’s version of Yankees-Red Sox.
Next up: Spain, the team that beat Germany in the European Championship final two years ago.
“We are not speaking of revenge,” German coach Joachim Loew said. “That hasn’t been on my mind at all.”
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And all these Germany back stories have been almost as juicy as the games themselves.
Any time Germany plays England it’s high drama. Germany’s 4-1 rout, England’s worst loss at a World Cup, would have been satisfaction enough. But England was robbed of Frank Lampard’s goal late in the first half that would have tied the score and, possibly, changed the direction of the game.
Argentina and Germany’s relationship has been testy since they traded World Cup titles in back-to-back finals in 1986 and ’90, and now it’s downright ugly. On Saturday, Germany embarrassed Argentina, 4-0.
And now there’s Spain.
The final score in the Euro 2008 final may only have been 1-0, but the game was far more lopsided than that.
“Spain is still ruling supreme in Europe but, in terms of quality, I think we have improved, big time,” Germany striker Miraslov Klose said Sunday.
Mauricio Espinosa, the Uruguayan linesman who failed to see Lampard’s shot cross the line, has described the error as “unfortunate.” He said the realization he’d made a mistake left a “very bitter” feeling, but that “these are things that can happen in football.” … Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon underwent successful surgery for a back injury sustained at the World Cup and could be out three months. … Coach Gerardo Martino is leaving the Paraguay national team, and striker Roque Santa Cruz says this was his last World Cup. … Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has dropped a threat to suspend the national team from playing for two years because of its poor World Cup showing and allegations of corruption.