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March 2021

And in the end….

By Walter Broeckx

Well we could open a can full of clichés about Germany and winning. One of them on top of this article and you will have filled in the rest automatically.

With a few Gunners possible winning a world cup medal I had to have a look at the match. And so I did.

I must say that I saw a match full of tension and fight. But not really a great game of football. One team clearly was out to do something with a bus at times and trying to then hit Germany on the counter. As a lover of attacking football I am delighted that such tactics didn’t work out in the end.

Of course I am even more than happy because a few of our Gunners now officially can be called world cup winners. I think it will do them good. Confidence wise it will make them stronger than ever. As I had previously seen the match against Brazil the fact that Khedira didn’t start made a big difference I think. The, for me, relatively unknown Kramer didn’t give me a great impression and when he got knocked out he had to leave the field. Just imagine in a world cup final the replacement had to be replaced himself.

The best chance of the first half was for Argentina when Kroos gave a wonderful assist to Higuain but the Argentine striker missed in front of Neuer. And in the final minute Howedes hit the post for Germany for what was a difficult half for the Germans. I must say that Özil did rather well I thought in difficult circumstances. He had no real striker to aim his passes too as Klose is getting a bit slow and will always stay in the centre.

At the start of the second half it seemed that the Argentines finally got the courage to attack the Germans with Aguero entering the field. They got themselves a few openings but couldn’t beat Neuer who got the Golden Glove later on as the best keeper in the tournament. I can live with that.

Özil was the main provider for Germany and some lovely balls were wasted when they could have done a bit more with his lay-offs. The game opened up a bit more but the scenario was the same: Germans trying to attack, Argentines trying to counter.

Towards the end of the game things got a bit nasty. Argentinian players punching their fists in German faces but the ref let it all go. Certainly the fist of Aguero where Schweinsteiger had a bleeding cut under his eye deserved the same card as his blood did.  The ref gave nothing. German players were getting annoyed by the lack of cards.

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The atmosphere got rather heated on the German bench and I noticed the 4th official telling them to calm down. He could have told the ref to get some cards out.

The only goal came deep in the second period of extra time. Schurrle got a cross in and Gotze controlled and tucked it in the far corner. I must say a goal worthy of winning the world cup.

After that it was clear that there was only one thing to do for the Argentines and that was to attack. The German manager Low reacted and took off one Gunner for another. Mertesacker on and Özil off. The first ball thrown in the direction of the German penalty area was headed away with much power by the Arsenal player.

The only thing that was a pity was that Podolski didn’t came on. But with one substitution being forced upon the Germans this was always very probable.  And by bringing on Gotze and not Podolski for Klose the German manager proved that he was right. I still think Podolski would have killed them earlier. Oh well.

At the final whistle the Germans celebrated by forming one big heap of bodies all on top of Schweinsteiger who had already been kicked from left to right. They had to reanimate him I guess.  Ok just kidding, he did get out of it in one piece.

In the post match celebrations you could see that Podolski just as at Arsenal is one of the players that are very much loved by his team mates. Even an attempted kiss with Schweinsteiger in front of the camera but they didn’t go all the way.

Before they handed out the cup they gave Messi the prize for player of the tournament. The Jesus Christ statue up the hill must have wept for this. What was Fifa smoking when they decided to give this to him? From what I have heard and seen was that apart from a few seconds of action every now and then he was not involved a lot and certainly was not decisive. I think Muller would have been a much better choice. But then again, who am I?

So now we will welcome 3 world champions in a few weeks time at The Emirates.  And well if we can dream a bit I wouldn’t mind a fourth added to those 3.

But for now all we can do is congratulate Mesut Özil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski. They won the world cup as Arsenal players. Well done lads, have a great party, then some well deserved rest and then make us proud next season, Our World Champions!

Oh for those who didn’t know the title : the Germans always win.

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69 comments to And in the end….

  • Gerry

    Nice summing up Walter.

    The only thing that worries me about ‘our’ players coming back as World Cup winners, is the way the Germans played. Or to be more precise, who did not play?

    The National side had an excellent replacement for Mertersacker, who was ‘dropped’ for sound tactical reasons. Arsenal’s big problem is they do not have such a player, yet? I am a big fan of Per, and what he brings in organisation and stability more than out-weighs any lack of pace. But until we have cover for him, I fear the ‘bigger’ teams will try and exploit this weakness, particularly since we did not reward Sagna at the appropriate time?

    There is still time in this transfer window, as alas, I do not feel TV5 is the answer, but finding someone who is up to the task will be a challenge. Mind, we could try it with 3 CB’s, thus keeping the new signing involved even when Per is fit? Also, not play quite such a high line as the German side?

    Overall, this World Cup has shown that many a player can achieve great heights, where domestically there have looked pretty average, whilst others just just proved they have class, even if only in fleeting moments …

    Oh, I got your cliche wrong, as I thought it was ‘ … class tells’?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Fair summing up of the game. As for messi, got the odd goal, but no way player of the tournament that demonstrated some outstanding goal keepers, some amazing German team play and of course Hamez.
    Thought Masherano was a strong contender for player of the tournament but he plays in a less heralded role than messi.
    Still that’s FIFA for you.
    Our beach bum head tennis playing manager returns today! Amazingly, some criticised him being on holiday, despite things going rather well when he was out there.
    I am sure they are working very hard on the players we need as well as those we have in training

  • WalterBroeckx

    Per looked decent in the first two matches I have heard but the partnership wasn’t what it might have been. I also read that he was one of the sick Germans during the the flu epidemic that hit them.
    But with his partnership with Koscielny he is much better than with the other German defenders.

    I noticed that all the German defenders are rather slow. The way Hummels was passed by on speed by Messi a few times showed this. Yet I don’t hear the pundits go on about it or I might have missed it.

  • Rupert Cook

    Messi, player of the tournament, what a joke. Any number of Argentines could have been picked in front of him.

    A fairly tedious game where once again we’ve seen South American teams, who used to be known for their flair, adopt a sort of quasi Italian style of safety first which actually nullified their greatest threat, Messi. The Germans showed them how to play attacking football and thankfully won in playing time.

  • hemed swaleh

    nice piece,
    i thought i was the only one who saw the need for poldi,the germans were limited to using high balls but with poldi shot…

  • hemed swaleh

    Man,lahm can whip in a beauty,imagine giroud waiting to pounce on em

  • bjtgooner

    Good write up Walter and an accurate summation of the game.

    You didn’t say a lot about the officials – I thought one or two players were fortunate to stay on the field. Perhaps your full thoughts on the refereeing during the WC will be revealed in due course.

    Most of all I was pleased for our three players and esp Ozil – consistently one of the best players in the tournament – he really put a great shift in last night – and in the previous matches.

  • Rantetta

    I presume Argentina were meant to win, judging by the reffing. There were early-ish yellow cards for Germany, and it wasn’t until much later that the Argies got a couple. Argentina reminded me of Bolton (Brazil did too). So I hope it’s a lesson to football all over the world. I hope Messi felt embarrassed at that award. Is it 2nd prize as he couldn’t hit the Balloon Door?

    Develop and play your own attacking football. Don’t try and play Chelski/Allardyce/Pulis stylee, as it’ll only work when the ref is on your side. (Didn’t work in the final, haha). And it looks goddam UGLY.

    Take lessons from Chile, Costa Rica, Columbia, and yes, Germany.

    You didn’t miss much, Walter. Good write up.

  • Arsenal1Again

    I feel Ozil did not have a good game. He looked inept in tackles, fell over a lot and his passing was off. He certainly did not provide everything, lol. The Germans gave as good as they got, Neuer should have been sent off for kneeing Higuain in the head. Seen at full speed that was a sickening challenge and was let go by the ref. The Ref was very fair and even, not at all biased. Players with a yellow like Mascherano and Agüero were not given a second yellow to maintain a good spirit in the game. Schweinsteiger was likewise not booked a second time and the German keeper was not booked at all. I’m guessing the ref knew in advance Neuer is getting the Golden Glove award.

    I have no idea why Messi was the Golden Ball Winner, looks like FIFA and UEFA up to their tricks again.

    It was a good game to watch and I didn’t watch it just because there are Arsenal players in it, lol. That is a very good point about Khedira not starting against Brazil.

  • Pat

    Good article, Walter, and I’m glad you watched the match especially so you could see our boys celebrating at the end. Ozil was happy but cool as always, but Per and Poldi were as wildly excited as we might have expected.

    You rightly highlight how influential Ozil was in the match. I thought the match was pretty exciting despite the lack of goals because the teams were rather evenly matched. So I felt sorry for Argentina too. But I’m pleased for the Arsenal players and nobody can say the German team didn’t deserve it.

    So – Arsenal, the only Premier League team with three cup winners from the tournament. I wonder if that will be highlighted in the press?

  • Nelson Wong

    A few thoughts

    1) Player of the match, I would put it on Neuer. Only reason he did not get it was that he was rarely tested in at least half the matches.

    2) Some say Messi carried the Argentina team this far. In a way, he did with his goal once a while but Argentina were carried by a several midfielder who is surprising VERY GOOD defending and at supporting counters. Their play were clear, organzied and solid. You can easily spot the difference comparing them with Brazil’s which keeps kicking people but losing the ball. They also defended better than Van Gaal’s team.

    3) People complain about Ozil lacking stamina. Look at Messi. He made a few quick runs in the first 30 minutes and seem to used up all his energy. He then needs to wait 15 minutes for another run which he can no longer out run the Germans any more. Any one complained about that? And it is similar for Neymar. when he was still avaiable. Ozil lasted all the way into extra time.

    4) If there is a weakness in the German team, it is their speed. Their striker lack speed and more so for the defenders. They got a special talent in Neuer who intercepts against threats so they can keep a high line which helps their slow forwards to break.

    5) The German midfield is weaker without Khedira (when Ozil played on the flanks). Even with other great players, it is disconnected and exposed. The two flanks separated all together.

    6) Argentina were more tired than the Germans when full time is up. They used up all their subs but still their men cannot out-run the Germans any more. Stamina aside, they took much longer to won their last few games than the Germans and they had one fewer day of rest. That really hurt them.

    7) First half of the game is very good but the intensity and quality dropped off quickly after the second half. It is quite common in this year. May be hot weather really make time very difficult for the guys. Interestingly, the Germans always come out in better shape.

  • Pat

    Interesting analysis, Nelson. Especially the points about stamina, heat and the lengths of games and how they affected Argentina.

  • colario

    ‘Parking the bus’ and scoring from break aways is not new. It was made famous long before our time by Arsenal.

    In the 1930 cup final Arsenal leading 1-0. (Alex James the scorer.) Arsenal defending for the rest of the game every one in defence (in other words ‘parking the bus’, the one exception is the center forward Jack Lambert in the center circle. The report I have states that ‘He received the ball from James, slipped between Goodall and Spencer and hared nearly half the length of the pitch…. Lambert shot from the edge of the penalty.’ 2-0 to the Arsenal. He was the only Arsenal player in the Huddersfield half.

    Arsenal became known as ‘Lucky Arsenal’ because of goals like that one. Also the club you either loved or hated.

    Here I state my opinion, I think back then Arsenal was loved by all of London because they alone stood against the then dominance of the north and in particular the Lancashire hold on football.

    Contrast that with Man U., until the Munich disaster Man U., were just another footabll club in the north. Naturally the club received a lot of sympathy and support from the whole country as a result of Munich, a support that continued. Then of course came ‘we know who’ communication and transport being a lot better than in the 30s the supprot grew and Man U became the flag ship must win ‘no matter how’ of the north.

    Loserpool won the following of the nation in the 70s – 80s in part because winners attract support but also they were the one English club that could stand up to the big European clubs. Then of course there was Bill Shankly not only a great manager but also a great publicity man.

    Arsenal still hated by the ‘northern click’ have become the team the world likes to watch with a manager the world admires and respects.

    There is the saying: ‘The prophet is not valued in his own country’. This needs to be updated to: ‘The prophet is not valued in his adopted country,’

    Would some one please tell the anti Arsene brigade that

    1) Arsene is entitled to a holiday, just like you are.

    2) Arsene wasn’t just ‘on holiday’ in Brazil he was working for French Televison and for Arsenal.

  • Mik

    “So – Arsenal, the only Premier League team with three cup winners from the tournament. I wonder if that will be highlighted in the press?”

    For the whole length of tournament it felt like commentators were trying very hard not to mention Ozil being Arsenal player – especially when he was playing well.
    Just wait for press telling us that Per and Poldi did not really deserve medals as their involvement was limited – I bet at the same time it will be said they are Gunners.

  • Mick

    Surely if Argentina were ‘meant to win’ Manuel Neuer would have been sent off for his appalling assault on Higuain which nearly resulted in decapitation, and for which the Argentinian was amazingly booked.

  • Rantetta

    Very good point, Mick.

    Up until that point Argentina engaged in some horrible duels. Some of their more blatant fouls were ignored. Why did Messi win that award? It would have been hard to justify even if Argentina had won. On the other hand, is there a case for saying that the Argentine goaly should’ve got the golden glove?according to commentators, that goaly had a very good tournament.
    Might there be some suggestion that these things are decide in advance, and not necessarily on Form?

  • finsbury

    “We created centres of excellence and I am grateful for the clubs who did that, this World Cup victory is a product of the excellent education and training in Germany.”

    Joachim “Jogi” Löw

    The work done at Untold on the lack of investment in English grassroots football and coaching was IMO partially inspired by the German investment, which was in stark contrast to the Wembley swindle and occurred at the same time as what must have been an expensive investment in the 2006 German WC. A shame no professional football journalists in the UK picked up upon this outrageous contrast, but who is surprised at that! The irony is this all followed on from German coaches being inspired by the football they saw in the PL, at Arsenal, at the end of the nineties (that is what Jogi said and I’m not going to argue with him!), and of course by the work done in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

    The scary thing for the rest is that this was far from Germany’s best XI starting the final last night. Like Walter I thought the worst injury in Podloski’s career last summer ruined his autumn audition for the CF role for Gemany. Credit to the German manager for fantastic stewardship of his squad, nursing Schweiny and Khedira* back to full fitness in the group games, not over using Klose etc. As broadcasters leave less and less recovery times for the athletes in between tournaments and adverts the best managers and squads will require such astute rotation as seen with the strongest teams in this tournament, as has happened in cricket (too many games too close together etc.). They will require bigger and better squads, and that is what Germany have.

    As Arsenal fans should know by now, coming back from something like a long lay off following an ACL injury, playing in some intense games in a short period, and then picking up a niggle is not unheard of. What is int resting is that Messi was never given proper recovery time during the season or last summer from his strains that’d he’d been getting, and was definitely never fully fit for these finals (check the distance covered stats), although there has been a deathly silence from the unemployed Dutch physios out there (on twitterer) on Bunga Bunga Barcelona’s mishandling of such a talent.

  • finsbury

    Whenever Özil did some outrageous skill the plundits would just remain quiet. Hilarious. Who do they think they are kidding?
    One spin and turn on the edge of the box was sensational and took out three or four argentine defenders and set up a shot. Not a word.

  • finsbury

    Germany win the game by dominating possession, restricting Higuain, Messi and others to one chance each, and people think Özil who made the most passes in the game of any player in the opponents pelanty area had a poor game? Ohdearohdearohdearohdear.

    Well. The manager who was the mastermind behind the evolution and success of this German squad started Özil in every game and only ever took him off for fresh legs. *coughs*.

  • finsbury

    Corr. Plodders/Podolski picked up his injury after a good start to the season, not in the summer.

    What did you think of the challenge by Neur on Higuain?

  • marcus

    Another BS tournament with all the minnows conveniently ‘eliminated’ so in the end the big boys scooped the prize…now where have we heard this before?

    Dreadful refereeing throughout the tournament, a complete farce with inumerable game changing penalty decisions fudged.

    The final itself blighted by an atrocious assault on Higuain.

    The commentators full of their usual mind-numbingly anodine Panglossian blather. Or is that blatter?
    The ref could take a dump on the pitch and they’d find a way to rationalize and normalize it.

    Kudos to the Mexican referee – he seemed proficient

  • WalterBroeckx

    OFF TOPIC: there is a new film on about the new kit. And again Tony and his book gets all the attention it deserves. After one minute you can have another look at the book.
    Rather interesting video about the details in the different shirts.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I don’t have a real problem with it.

    Just imagine the following incident. A defender and a striker run to the same ball, the defender heads the ball out and then the striker runs on to the defender. What is the correct decision? Foul against the striker as the defender was first to the ball.

    As this was involving a goal keeper the difference is that he made contact with his hands with the ball and thus you get a different collision. But the main basic rule is the same as the keeper is allowed to play with his hands in the penalty area.

    So the Neuer-Higuain clash was the same only with a goalkeeper making contact with the ball with his fist and then the striker coming second and running against the keeper and thus making the same foul as if it was a defender.

    Of course it looks bad and this is one of the collisions that you close your eyes and hope that all are fine. But both going for the same ball and then the one who is first will have the foul in his favour.

    I think German keepers are still being compared to the Schumacher incident at the Spain world cup an eternity ago.

    The foul described by me as one player coming late after the other headed the ball away could be seen half a dozen times yesterday I think with the ref being consistent in his calls that the player coming late was penalised. So he was consistent in this type of decision.

  • WalterBroeckx

    But I will not say that the ref had a great game 😉 and certainly the ref in the match for 3rd place. I have seen some things that were really bad…

    Giving a penalty for a foul outside the box
    Giving a yellow and not a red card for the foul outside the box
    Offside for the second goal from Holland
    Giving a foul against Oscar when he was clearly fouled in the Dutch penalty area
    Giving a yellow card for a dive when Oscar was clearly clattered by Blind. To round it all of Blind injured himself when clattering with Oscar and looked seriously injured. I wonder if the ref thought that Blind was injured because of the Oscar wind hitting him? 😉

    Now that was a terrible performance of the referee in the match between Brazil and Holland

  • finsbury

    Thanks Walter.

    Could the performance of the official in the Brazil-Netherlands game be a cunning attempt from FUFA to balance out the obvious tilting the whole wide world saw in huge Croatia and Columbia games? I guess they were trying their best to make sure that ‘it all evens out in the end’, the idiots.

    What price some serious interactive technology and required aid and assistance for the officials in the worlds biggest sport? Don’t they want to discourage divers and simulators from acting like idiots in front of the tv cameras? If those famous Dutch coaches took some inspiration from hockey back in the day, why can’t FUFA look to this sister sport and simply copy how well they’ve been aiding their officials, as seen at the Olympic Games here in London by the millions of people who saw those games (available on YouTube if you are curious to see how it would all work). Why do no football journalists ever point this out? What is wrong with them? Don’t they like football?

  • finsbury

    the Croatia and Columbia… > huge Croatia and Columbia…

  • para

    Am i glad that it is all over, now we can get back to real football. Still, now we have world cup winners in our team.

    First pre season match coming up soon.

  • marcus

    The problem is Walter that Neuer crashed into Higuain, not vica versa, and could easily have broken Higuain’s neck. Also, the rules state you cannot jump at an opponent…Neuer’s knee impacted Higuain’s head.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Marcus the rules also say you cannot run in to someone who had played the ball first.

  • marcus

    Neuer runs into Higuain Walter.

    Obviously you are the ref, but I thought you had to control your momentum, and ball does not excuse man.

    Also I think Schumacher is a red herring, he should have been banned for years for his challenge. Neuer’s challenge is just a red card offence.

  • marcus

    Anywhere else on the field with two outfield players, and it would have Neuer red all day long…

  • Mick

    Dear old Martin Keown wasn’t very impressed with Ozil, he rates 8 German players higher than him in the Mail but I suppose he has to do his masters bidding….

  • Mick

    Sorry Walter, I know you are a ref but Neuer did not have to lead with his knee when he jumped. That was reckless to an extreme and without any regard for the safety of an opponent, something you are usually very strict about. I remember last year when Nani was sent off for a high boot you said it was the players responsibility to be aware of other players position and take that into account when performing your own actions.

  • mk

    Sorry guys but you are wrong about Neuer, that was the standard way every keeper goes for the ball and never will be given as a foul, nor card on the keeper.

    Unlucky for Higuain but that is how keepers jump to protect themselves from being injured by an onrushing player while their arms are above their head and they are vulnerable to being injured. There are historical reasons why jumping in this way is allowed by keepers and you will see most players try to get out of the way in this situation.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I think that Oezil had a good game. It is clear that he was told to stick to the touchline on the left in the 1st half and on the right from then on. If there is a criticsm of the German team it is that Loew had them playing in a very static manner. The wingers were allowed to come to the middle but only if they had the ball but they were clearly not allowed to cut in for through balls. Oezil played some sweet through balls but being so far outside on the flank he was not in a position to thread the needle up the middle. And, he worked his socks off on defense coming back quite far to provide defensive cover for the fullbacks. I think the man of the match should have been Hoewedes or Boetang. They made a few errors but kept Messi and Higuain mainly quiet. I find the criticsm from English talking heads at odds with what I have been hearing from the German press (I watched the games on German TV). They weren’t praising him to the skies but rather considered his work as quite acceptable given his role.

  • Mick

    So that will be covered in the laws of the game then.

  • Mick

    Sorry, above question for mk.

  • Dec

    Absolutely agree mk. Neuer played the ball perfectly and his momentum took him into Higuain. Never a foul on either side. Should have been a throw in to Argentina.
    There seems to be a growing number of people who want to turn football into a non contact sport. Add these to the existing cohort of those for whom goalkeepers are no more than a necessary evil and to blame for everything (hi Marcus)

    In last couple of years it’s become the norm for forwards to knock the ball past the keeper, stick out a leg and for good measure kick the keeper, then throw themselves to the ground ‘to draw the ref’s attention to the contact’ and the result being invariably a red card for the keeper and a penalty for the diving forward!!
    For some reason, particularly in the last couple of years, the only criteria for the defender being in the wrong is for there to have been ‘contact’ regardless of who initiated the contact or of it’s intensity. For a player to throw himself to the ground whenever he feels ‘contact’ is cheating plain and simple. The current batch of pundits on the British media all seem to espouse ‘forwards have a right to dive’ attitude.
    Sorry for the mini rant, just sick of us keepers being blamed every time. Well done Germany, well deserved.

  • On the Neuer/Higuain debate, here is a question:

    Did anybody here think that Higuain would have got the ball ahead of Neuer?

    If the answer is no then why did Higuain rushed on? We all like players to be committed and I will be lying if I claim that I won’t like Arsenal forwards to chase balls like that. But that ball was Neuer’s to get (at least before Higuain) and it is for this reason that I am with the goalkeeper here. Higuain should have let it go.

    Earlier in the game (can’t recall if 1st or second half), Romero was in a similar situation and he came out with an outrageously outstretched leg. The reason why we are not having any conversation about the likely injury that might have resulted from that incident was that the German attacker got out of his way.

  • AL

    Happy for out German trio, world cup medals, doesn’t get better than that. As for the game itself I felt it was an even match, and no team really deserved to lose. Argentina had all the chances to win it in regulation time, while the Germans had most of the possession. As for Messi winning the golden globe or whatever it is, I also say he deserved it. He was the difference between Argentina going out in the quarters and reaching the final. The guardian said only Jaizinho and Maradona have managed more dribbles at a WC than Messi,so there. I also feel his presence on the pitch alone restricted the Dutch and turned them into long ball merchants, only managing their first shot on target in the 99th minute. The problem we have as humans as we keep expecting more and more, that players like Ozil and Messi have become victims of their own success. If Ozil doesn’t provide 10 assists per game he was poor. If Messi doesn’t go on a mazy run leaving four or five defenders in his wake twice per match then he was poor. These guys contribute immensely to their team in a way that’s difficult to see. They look like they’re not doing anything, but just look at the stats and you’ll see a different story. Ozil was immense again last night, but hardly got a mention. It’s crazy but I guess that’s just how we are as humans.

  • Gord

    An outfield player attempting to play a high ball (with the head) gets the best height by having the arms low at the time the ball is playable. In order for a goaltender to play the high ball, his arms have to be high when the ball is playable. This results in a considerable difference in center of mass location between the outfield player and the goaltender. As a result of this, the goaltender is in much larger danger of getting flipped and eventually hitting the ground in some uncontrolled orientation. The worst is to hit the ground head first with considerable spin rate. Coming in with the raised knee aggravates this, but it largely self protection. The goaltender is essentially saying, you can come into my space and pretend to play the ball attempting to hurt me, but in doing so you run the risk of running your head into my knee and becoming injured yourself.

  • AL (@5.31pm),

    Your post reminds me of why you are one of my favourites here. Absolutely spot on. If any other player had done what Messi did at this world cup, the whole world would be screaming that their player of the tournament award is most well deserved.

    I was rooting against the Argentines (they are my least favourite team in the world and 3 of my ‘home boys’ are in the German team 🙂 ); I am extremely happy that they lost but Messi is by far the best player of the 2014 world cup. Here is a metric for doubters amongst us: Messi won more Man of the Match award than any other player at the competition. That says something in my opinion. His award is very well deserved.

  • jambug

    AL and Boo.

    Seems we are in agreement again.

    Not 100% sure he deserved player of the tournament but I agree he played very well, and a lot better than some are crediting for.

    As for Ozil.

    I think prior to last night he had laid on more chances (not assists) than any other German, which I presume would put him up there, overall, in the tournament.

    Can anyone help with that stat?

    Anyway, the way he’s been maligned by our media is a disgrace, but hardly a surprise.

  • jambug,

    Here’s the thing: lots of people are saying that Messi does not deserve the award not there is no consensus about who it should be. If it is a robbery, who was robbed? Where’s the victim?

    Messi clearly performed below his extraordinarily high standard but he is still by far the best player of this world cup. Anyone who thinks he doesn’t deserve the award should tell us who should have won it instead.

  • Blaisehayest

    Good statistical breakdown on Ozil (link below).

    No one is talking about Garay’s hit on Kramer earlier in the game, as I recall a throw in was called on that play. Both plays were similar and while Garay and Nauer went in hard according to the laws of the game neither were fouls no matter how “over the top” you think they were. Personally I think Garay was worse, there was no reason to leave his shoulder in, and part of me thinks he knew exactly what he was doing. Agree with Bootoomee on the Romero play in the first half. Goalies are trained from early on to bring their knee up when going up for the ball, you’ll see them do it even when there’s no traffic as a matter of habit.

  • Dec

    Easy peasy Boo,
    Manuel Neuer or Kaylor Navas should have won the accolade.
    As Neuer won the Golden Gloves (courtesy of Germany advancing to the end), Navas would edge it for me. He single handedly dragged Costa Rica to the quarter finals and was desperately unlucky to go out then.
    Neuer didn’t put a hand or foot wrong over the entire competition.
    Messi was ordinary by comparison.
    Forwards get all the limelight however, a case of ‘image is all substance is nothing’ .

  • Dec,

    Thanks for playing mate. I prefer this to just saying Messi doesn’t deserve it.

    The question now is do we have consensus about your choice of Navas? You are the first person that I have heard brought him up.

    Navas is a good choice by the way but I think Messi deserves it more.

  • jambug


    It is true that to a degree Messi is a victim of his own very high standards.

    Personally I would of gone for Neuer. Did he make a mistake?

    Anyway it is all a matter of opinion but Messi was undoubtedly in the mix.

    As for the other out field players in contention who would most people still like to see at there club next season?

    Ignoring ridiculous transfer fees, I bet most would still go for Messi, no matter what they say about anyone else. I know I would.

  • jambug,

    I would too. Most happily!

  • Mahdain

    A little note on the referee. He was the same referee that left us with 10 men against Bayern after seeing how much we were all over them so yeah he is a prick

  • Quincy

    Neuer actually turned his body and hit Higuain with his hip on his shoulder, no crap about his knee, and anyway, can YOU jump without raising your knees? Higuain had a quick glance behind him, saw Neuer coming, didn’t get out the way, and actually crouched down slightly, i.e. no attempt at all to get the ball. Should Neuer have not bothered going for the ball because Higuain was there? The fact is Neuer got the ball cleanly, and then the contact with Higuain came.

    And I disagree about Holland’s second goal, it looked in-line to me.

    As for the Golden Ball, it could have gone to Mascherano, Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteigger, Muller, and that’s just from the two teams competing in the final.

  • marcus


    And yet the Laws are crystal clear:

    Serious foul play
    A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality
    against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.
    A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as
    serious foul play.
    Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the
    front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force
    and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.
    Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play unless
    there is a clear subsequent opportunity to score a goal. The referee must send
    off the player guilty of serious foul play when the ball is next out of play.
    A player who is guilty of serious foul play should be sent off and play is
    restarted with a direct free kick from the position where the offence occurred
    (see Law 13 – Position of free kick) or a penalty kick (if the offence occurred
    inside the offender’s penalty area)

    And also
    Direct free kick
    A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
    of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be
    careless, reckless or using excessive force:
    • jumps at an opponent

    On all these Laws, Neuer is found wanting….I simply don’t understand why it wasn’t an automatic red.
    All the stuff you and Walter mention doesn’t seem to be in FIFA’s lawbook

  • Quincy

    I even forgot to add Hummels and Kroos to my list of potential Golden Ball winners

  • Dec

    Have you ever actually played football (other than on a computer screen)?
    If so,I bet you’re not a goalkeeper.
    Neuer watched the flight of the ball, he timed his run and his jump and his punch perfectly to clear it from danger. That the attacker also chose to run under the flight of the ball, hoping to latch on to it as it fell (as he’s perfectly entitled to do, no blame whatsoever on him) is not Neuer’s responsibility. He certainly has no obligation to stand back and allow an opponent in. Higuain was not in possession of the ball, merely challenging for it, Neuer got there first, fair and square, no foul was committed by either player.

    Would I choose Neuer in my team over Messi?
    The best keeper on the world (sorry Wojciech) or the best striker? Hmmmm, methinks the specialised skill of the keeper is more valuable and harder to find. Outfield players can compensate by virtue of the fact that there are several of the in the team.
    Consider this:
    Team A
    Standard decent keeper
    Arsenal’s best 9 outfield players + Messi
    Team B
    World’s best keeper (Neuer)
    Arsenal’s best 10 outfield players

    My money would be on Team B every time.

    Not a problem I expect Le Boss to have to worry about this window though:)

  • Quincy

    Here are some good gifs of the incident with Neuer and Higuain. I was wrong abou Higuain looking back, but Neuer does actually hit his shoulder with his hip:!bfezAZ

  • marcus

    F off Dec, you’re a berk

  • Marcus

    I am just curious as to why a challenge like Neuer’s which is an outfield red with interest goes unpunished for a goalie…
    Addressed really to Walter and Gord

    There was so much bad refereeing it’s somewhat academic anyhow

  • Mick

    I agree with you Marcus. The laws are absolutely clear and unambiguous, there are no exceptions or concessions made for goalkeepers and nor should there be. There are no exceptions or concessions made for ‘it was his momentum’ or ‘there was no intention’ or ‘caught him on the follow through’, all reasons mooted for excusing Neuer’s actions. Dec, you are totally wrong despite having ‘played the game’, Red card all day long.

  • Rupert Cook

    Neuer went for the ball and punched it clear and then Higuain clattered into him. Both had a right to go for the ball but it’s fairly clear that Neuer’s only intention was to punch the ball and not hit Higuain. Perfectly good goalkeeping.

  • Dec

    Aha, thought as much.
    Definitely a foul in the EA sports version. Try Ctl-alt-del.

  • marcus

    Insulting people for no reason makes you look like a dickhead Dec.
    Insulting people and trying to use it as part of an argument makes you look like a thug.

    You know a lot more about virtual football than I do, which is no surprise really as I’ve never played whatever it is you’re referring to.

    Should I bother reading the rest of your post. nah. I don’t think so.

  • Dec

    The only insult I see is your post of 07:15 this morning.
    Everybody else can communicate in a civil manner.
    You have a nice day.

  • marcus

    Have you ever actually played football (other than on a computer screen)?

    Classic passive aggressive behaviour.

  • marcus

    Particularly insulting because I suffered a serious injury playing football at the age of 17 which has blighted me all my adult life

  • bob mac

    Watch the games very carefully.

    Ozil was absolutely outstanding in all he did, especially work-rate.

    Does he actually look physically stronger.

    Role on the new season…………….I, for one, just can’t wait.

  • Dec

    Sorry to hear that Marcus. But given that I don’t know you from Adam, in what way could my question be insulting?
    Your answer, if anything proves my point. You don’t, albeit for tragic reasons, have any idea of what Manuel Neuer’s decision making process was in that incident. I do, I’ve been faced with the situation many times. I’m not going to go over the reasons again but he behaved correctly and won the encounter. No blame on either player.
    I’m neither a dickhead nor a thug nor a berk(whatever that is), the insults all came from you. Now I’ve got stuff to do, so again, have a nice day and enjoy the new season.

  • AL

    Bootoomee, jambug
    Sorry chaps for a very late response, in a part of the world where surfing the net is a luxury 🙂
    Anyway, just glad to see I wasn’t the only one who saw things that way. And you’re absolutely spot on Bootoomee, huge uproar about Messi winning it without really putting forward any potential candidates who were ‘robbed’. That we are getting keepers as Messi’s fellow contenders tells you all you need to know.

  • Dec

    Try winning anything without a top class keeper Al.
    We’ve suffered journeymen keepers at Arsenal since David Seaman left (Jens was almost top class but not quite) and only now with Wojciech coming of age are we back in contention.
    Don’t dismiss the most important specialist on the pitch so lightly.