As usual, I start with a little insight into how my day was and what I did. Makes me more involved in what I am writing.
I go out of work early after a difficult day. Anyways, that's my worry for tomorrow. After venting my frustration on the treadmill and the machines, I cooked my dinner, ready to devour it.
Now where's the remote? Ahh, there it is!
Right, just in time for the national anthems but, still no Schweinsteiger in the staring line up due to suspension.
That gave me a hint that the Germans were out for a draw, nothing much, as they wanted to preserve their energy and tactics for the Portuguese. But, if they were to get a win, they wouldn't mind it.
We kick off with the hosts in possession and five minutes into the game, Gomes bottles a sitter.
Question time again: Why did Klose cross and not shoot? He had a good angle and gained a fraction of a second. Four more minutes later, Fritz sends one from the right, after beating Pogatetz.
Now another question: where were Klose and Gomes? There was no one to poach it.
Half way into the first half, Ballack passes to Podolski and the shot is parried by the goal keeper. Half an hour into the game, Gomes wins another corner. Four minutes later, another corner, Klose miscues. Towards the last ten or so minutes of the first half, Austria looked more lively, more creative and looked more likely to score and even won a corner.
Then, the first and only piece of drama both managers sent off by the officials.
End of the first half, and a dull performance by the Germans, for which mediocrity would be a compliment.
At this point, a little philosophy, after four successive tournaments: Never trust the pre tournament favourites.
2002 World Cup—Argentina
Euro 2004—France, Holland
2006 World Cup—England
Well in fact, I should correct myself and say, never trust the pre-tournament favorites to win.
Four minutes into the second half and Ballack roars to life. A screamer from the German captain, the Michael Ballack of Chelsea!
Looks like another captain's day out! Yesterday it was sensational Nihat, today it was rejuvenated Ballack! What next?
Now, it looks like someone has injected a tank of red bull into the game. Suddenly we see action at both ends, with the Germans trying to double their advantage, and the Austrians to neutralise it! Game on!
Well, at least that is what I thought. There were no more mentionable chances, and by the time Oliver Neuville missed his, we were well into stoppage time. Germany had managed to limp through to face Portugal.
Since I did not have the misfortune of watching France and Romania's ninety-minute friendly, for me this was the dullest game I'd seen in the tournament so far.
However, thinking from Joachim Lowe's perspective, the mission was simple—to qualify for the quarterfinals.
They did it. Mission accomplished. That's what matters, end of ninety minutes.