German jibes and Skrtel hurtles through to end the heartache

So here it is let’s bring on the Germans and all the assorted embarrassing behaviour from this country that goes with it. Liverpool fans often get accused of living in the past on past glories but is it any wonder when the country the city is located in makes an industry out of it every four years?

Nonetheless I think England have more hope than normal for this tie and seem more confident than their displays in the first two games suggested Steven Gerrard said

“It goes without saying that boys are really looking forward to this game…. we have watched them during the tournament and they are a very good side but I’m sure they will say the same about us. It will be a tough match for both teams. Every game has been hard so far and we know that the further we go in the competition, the harder it is going to be.”

Hardly an earth shattering revelation however, it will get harder and England will need to up their game. However, one just wonders about the psyche of the Germans, Franz Beckenbauer seems to be indulging in some kind of one-upmanship that would probably have Fergie looking on in admiration.

“Stupidly, the English have slipped up a little by finishing second in their group. The English look a little tired… they are burnt out. We respect them but we certainly don’t fear them.”

I don’t know what Beckenbuaer is trying to achieve by indulging in this sort of nonsense all it would seem to do is to make Capello’s job easier. His players shouldn’t need any motivation, all he needs to do is to repeat his words?

Elsewhere and I was really pleased for Martin Skrtel who made it into the knock out stages by playing and important part in Slovakia’s 3-2 win over Italy. Skrtel was involved in last ditch clearance off the line from Quagliarella’s shot which, although it wasn’t known at the time, was vital as one more goal from the Italians, who were pushing hard at the end of the game, would have seen them through. Prior to this Skytel “cleared” an Italian attack by heading about a foot over his own bar! It’s the sort of thing where a defender will say “what’s the problem” and act as if it’s something he does every game whilst the rest of his team are close to having a seizure! Skrtel’s had a wretched season with a bad injury sustained against Unirea in the UEFA Cup so I am glad it’s finishing on a high for him.

Sadly for the Italians it is an early exit home which will probably be greeted with more incredulity by their country than the bizarre, limp wristed French campaign, at least the Italians were only “not good enough”. Who would have bet on the two finalists from the last tournament putting their feet up at home before the last sixteen? Both squads will be much different in the next tournament, time to put many of their players out to pasture with a bath chair and one of those tartan rugs everyone the tournament benches seems to be wearing over their knees.

Meanwhile Dirk Kuyt could relax in the knowledge that the Dutch are already through. However, he still played his part in a 2-1 win over Cameroon, setting up Robin van Persie and then getting out of the way sharpishly when he finally launched his attempt on goal. Dirk now faces up Skrtel in the last sixteen, could be interesting

Javier, Glen, Jamie, Martin, Fernando, Dirk and Maxi, quite a healthy red contingency in the last sixteen but sadly another one of our centre halves Daniel Agger won’t be there as The Danes lost 3-1 to Japan. Although Agger earned his Country a penalty which saw Jon Dahl Tomasson, after rebound, equal the Danish scoring record the most noticeable thing about the game was the two free kicks the Japanese scored which, if my memory is correct, are the only dead ball attempts that have be scored so far? However I refuse to go down the path many have done and muse over the merits of the Adidas Jabulani or that matter, plastic horns!

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