Having more than my fill of the German press for the past two years, I suppose nothing could surprise me in the way of the ‘negativity’ that surrounds their attitude towards their national team and the way those within their game seem determined to undermine them, and especially Joachim Löw every step of the way.
It should, I suppose, equally not have surprised me that one of the main protagonists in this campaign has stepped forward in the form of the ever-embittered Michael Ballack.
He decided yesterday that we all had to be aware that in his opinion Joachim Löw will leave after the World Cup,
The exact term used was “wird” (will) and not “should”, and Ballack was expressing more what he thought would happen than what he himself wanted to happen (a subtle difference missed out on by most). However he would have known full well that the headline writers would have no trouble extracting the “Löw must go” element from what he said and using this as their leader the next morning, this then being repeated over social media until any verbatim quote is well and truly lost.
And this the very day the team began their preparation camp, ready to start on their journey to Brazil. Let’s cast doubts on the coach’s future. Coincidence? I think not.
For the past two years we have suffered the spectacle on many occasions of Uli Hoeness’s diatribes against the Bundestrainer, always coming on the very day the team assembled for an international break. Now he is otherwise engaged, it would appear we have a new man only too keen to step into his shoes of acrimony.
We are not debating anyone’s right to free speech here, that is a far wider issue for us to believe in. What we are talking about are the motives behind such behaviour and whether they are in any way constructive to those young players just starting out on their career and with such a challenging task ahead of them.
Let us compare his attitude to that of David Beckham =- also in the news yesterday. Stating that England had a great chance of reaching the latter stages in Brazil, he also commended Roy Hodgson for what he has done for the team. Any comment on what may or may not happen to Hodgson after the World Cup? Would he leave? Would he be sacked? Of course, not, his only aim was to encourage and support, as has been his mission at all levels since retiring from the game.
Imagine a young member of the England team waking up this morning and hearing the confidence shown in them, such an idol within the game believing they can do it. England may not win the World Cup, but the morale boost of those comments from such a figurehead can only act as a source of inspiration for the players, short and long term. Beckham’s behaviour since he hung up his boots has been worthy of total admiration and is the very model of how to act in moving away, yet staying involved, in a sport that has brought him so much.
And it is in stark contrast to that of his German counterpart whose only desire appears to tarnish the memory of his playing days and become football’s “grumpy old man”.
With his Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal contingent missing due to domestic Cup Finals at the weekend, Jogi had on show a record-breaking number of debutants. After just one single training session together, he was delighted with their performance.
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Having again, it would appear, nothing to occupy himself with, Felix Magath has re-surfaced, with all the predictability of headlice in the second week of a primary school term.
This time he apparently feels the need to criticise Jogi (and, for added measure, Oliver Bierhoff too) for being ‘understated’. Magath kritisiert Löw und Bierhoff wegen Tiefstapelei
What has he done wrong this time? According to Magath, it would seem, he has not been stating that Germany are certainties for the World Cup and (shock! horror!) the Bundestrainer has actually been acknowledging there are other teams that stand a chance in Brazil.
Selectively editing a man’s quotes and using them against him (see my earlier points below) to suit your own agenda and attract publicity would be unsavoury if the subject was speaking nonsense, but to do so when all he is voicing is a certain amount of common sense is even more objectionable. Whatever you might think, Felix, Germany are NOT clear favourites, and, yes, checking my Weather App, it would appear it most definitely IS hot in Brazil, and the German management have every right to state as much.
I am sure that should Joachim Löw and his team stride around, and with much chest-beating, proclaim they were certainties to win, Felix and his chronies would come out, equally damning, criticising their arrogance.
You just can’t win.
On the subject of which, perhaps the man who backed Fulham to stay up should surely realise the self-sure can be just as wrong as the modest, and showing grace to an opponent does not necessarily mean you will be defeated by them.
After all, I seem to remember once Jogi saying Germany were wary of Wayne Rooney, and we all know what happened there!
Magath appears keen to admit that he and Löw have ‘different philosophies’. I probably don’t think anyone would disagree with that. But isn’t that what makes the game of football so interesting?
So at what point should it become necessary to publically ‘have a go’ at someone simply because he is more of a gentleman than you are?
With his latest condemnation, Magath is truly scraping the bottom of the barrel in a desire to criticise simply for the sake of it.