FIFA World Cup: Day Thirteen column

debates the meaning of schadenfreude in the wake of the end of a footballing era

Trump. Brexit. North Korea. Leicester City.

It’s all gone a bit topsy-turvy sideways in recent years and yesterday was no different. There’s a smidge of schadenfreude to seeing Germany crash out. Actually, who am I kidding? It was fucking ace. Crying kids, a desolate scene in a fan zone in Berlin, Özil on the floor crying. God has smiled on the English people once again.

It’s the end of an era. A pretty fucking shit era. But all I can say is thank you South Korea. The actual German match was full of drama. Two years after that prick denied us Lampard’s rightful goal, Neuer finally got caught out when pretending he is an outfield player. De Gea has been rubbish, but I have nothing but respect for my goalkeeper.

The German build-up play in 2014 was characterised by a profound understanding by the core of the team. After all, they had been together since youth level and spent years with the same side. Some crevices of the English media have criticised their lack of change, but honestly, I don’t buy it. Their squad should’ve included Sané. Werner shouldn’t have started. Boateng should’ve been dropped against Korea and Sweden. The last of these was the most important. Boateng looked shaken, unsettled and out of his depth against Mexico. He looked like the Boateng who got put on his arse by Messi. Not the one that was at the heart of the former Word Champions side in 2014.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Belgians aren’t ready for the might of the Three Lions. An honest prediction is an England win. But with Belgium Lukaku-less and looking to rotate heavily, I don’t think that it will be a reflection on our potential to be World Champions.

A shorter column, I know but it hasn’t changed anything: it’s coming home.

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