Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Germany's Shameful World Cup Performance

No one expected the trouncing that Brazil received at the hands of Germany in yesterday's semifinal, and a 7-1 score is soccer is about as one sided a victory as one can imagine; if not mistaken it was the most lopsided score in the entire tournament so far. Five of Germany's goals were scored in about a 10 minute span in the first half, and it was clear at halftime, with the score 5-0, that the victor in this game was not in doubt.

But Germany continued to push forward in the 2nd half, lobbing long passes downfield in attempts to score rather than playing a ball control game and methodically moving the ball forward, something certainly not uncommon on a soccer field. Further, Germany kept its best scorers on the field the entire game rather than using its few substitutions to bring in players that might otherwise never touch the field in the World Cup. Germany scored two more goals, and rather than quietly celebrating each goal they remained demonstrative in demonstrations of bravado that were clearly inconsiderate of their opponent or the venue, since Brazil was the host team. Boy, as a host I certainly hope to never have guests that showed me such little respect.

I was astounded that there was almost no discussion among ESPN analysts of Germany's clear effort to run up the score on a defeated Brazil. If this is accepted practice in soccer's culture I am glad I never had interest in the sport, because there can be no doubt I would never want my players to emulate the German players or the German coach, who must have found no problem with the play on the field.

This was a game devoid of sportsmanship and devoid of decency, a clear effort to embarrass the host team in front of their own fans. Now obviously the World Cup stage is far removed from our youth sports programs, but as coaches we should really ask ourselves whether we consider German behavior appropriate in a game so one sided and at the host's home field. We have all been in these circumstances, on one end or the other, and we need to ask ourselves what we would do. Would we keep our best scorers in the game? Would we continue with an aggressive offensive style of play? Would we celebrate goals so demonstratively? And would we have shown so little consideration for the fact that the team we were humiliating was the event host?

Loving Germany is never easy to begin with; we see them as distant, hyper disciplined, and arrogant. Suffice to say, they did little yesterday to change that view. This was a huge loss for Brazil, and they of course have themselves to blame. But as the victor's coach, we have certainly responsibilities, certain lessons we want to impart. In this case, think about Germany, and then just do the opposite. hat a horrible example they set for the world's young soccer players.

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