A Schadenfreude warning for England supporters revelling in Germany misery after World Cup exit
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After all, for every 5-1 win in Munich, there are two penalty shoot-out defeats and for the 1-0 loss that ended Kevin Keegan’s managerial tenure and the dramatic defeat at the 1970 World Cup there was the knockout stage win at Euro 2020. The two countries - in a football sense - seem drawn together and will forever be intrinsically linked.
Players and managers have forged reputations on heroical displays in fixtures between the two countries with Sir Geoff Hurst and Michael Owen both hitting the headlines for hat-tricks scored against die Mannschaft and Andreas Moller and Gerd Muller both sinking the proverbial dagger into the Three Lions when glory seemed within their grasp.
Perhaps it could be a misconception, but there always felt as if any on-field rivalry felt more to England than it did to the Germans. As England lived in somewhat limited successes - that 1966 World Cup Final win apart - Germany, whether West or united, were celebrating four World Cup wins and three European Championship Finals triumphs.
Success, to their Germans, felt natural, as did the frustration of watching them enjoy it. So perhaps that is why their media have reacted with such fury after their side crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage for the second consecutive finals. A win against Costa Rica mattered like as Japan’s shock win over Spain ensured they topped the group, followed by La Roja.
Invoking my very own James Richardson, a quick glance across the media brings talk of Germany becoming ‘a football dwarf’ after hitting ‘a new low point’ after such an ‘enormous embarrassment’. There has been talk of a much-needed reboot, with several older players tipped to step aside to allow the next generation to find their heads at international level.
For England fans, it’s hard not to have such a rye smile as memories of having ‘It’s coming home’ thrown back in their faces in the aftermath of the Euro 96 semi-final defeat as Andreas Moller fired home the final penalty to condemn Terry Venables’ side to a heartbreaking exit.
And memories of Frank Lampard’s disallowed ‘goal’ at the World Cup in 2010 will have only increased the ‘Schadenfreude’ at watching a highly debatable goal that gave Japan the win against Spain they need to send Germany on the early plane home.
As is the modern way, social media became of hive of activity with carefully put-together memes showing Lampard sat in front of a VAR screen laughing as the goal was given and Ryanair joining in suggesting Kylian Mbappe was carrying France as one of their planes carried Germany (and Belgium) home.
Perhaps more cruelly, given the Germans were one of the sides to openly show their unhappiness over not being allowed to have their say on human rights issues, they were mocked for their stance with images of their ‘hand over mouths’ photo ahead of their opening game against Japan shared by many, with some suggesting they should ‘stick to football’ next time.
There has certainly been plenty of mockery of the Germans following the events of Thursday night and for now, England seems to be in a far more promising position than their old rivals. But as Gary Lineker once said, ‘Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.’ For now, they may not be winning, but there rebuild will already be underway and they will come back stronger. They always do.