I think that if I lived in Poland, I would be very excited to see a match like that. It would mean that my team was getting ready to play against one of the top teams in the world, so it is already exciting in itself. Exciting as an idea. But let me put it into perspective. To see players who have already become stars, in a positive sense of this word, of their generation is amazing. Thus, it would probably be a double pleasure: seeing my team and watching those already famous players. A dream…
In reality, I definitely was not in Danzig, while watching this match, but I enjoyed it all the same. I have to say that the last twenty minutes were somewhat boring, as die Mannschaft got a bit lazy. However, the first half was absolutely fabulous with plenty of opportunities for Germany to score. Too bad it did not work out. In the end, the opponents parted with a 2:2 tie.
I also did enjoy Lahm’s performance with the variety of tasks he had to do. He helped the attack, did his thing in the defense, and sometimes regulated matters in the center, as it seemed to be too overwhelming for Simon Rolfes. Some interesting moments:
the 8th+ minute – Podolski has the ball, Lahm overlapping. He gets the ball, goes inside, and tries to score. Seems there was not enough spin on it but good, nevertheless.
the 9th + minute – Lahm gets the ball again. Does some dribbling but overdribbles* it and, as a result, loses the ball. *that is my word for it *laugh*
the 17th+ minute – Lahm prevents a Polish player from making a cross. He also claps his hands, sending some encouragement his teammates’ way. (I wish I could have a separate video camera that would focus only on Lahm. Or I wish I was there to watch the game and be my own video camera.)
the 23rd+ minute – Lahm takes the ball away from a Polish player who sort of goes down on one knee. The referee whistles. Lahm throws his hands up in the air in a ‘oh, c’mon!’ manner.
the 27th+ minute – Somehow Lahm is down on one knee. He gets up and goes to the referee. Poland has a corner, but it is denied due to the offside. Lahm is walking back to his position, still saying something to the referee (?) At least, that is how it looked from a distance.
the 31st+ minute – Rolfes passes the ball to Podolski who, in his turn, makes a pass to Lahm. Philipp is basically standing alone, and there is plenty of space. He goes inside, pulling seven Polish defenders after him before making a pass to Mario Götze. Stellar!
the 37+ minute – Lahm has the ball and passes it to Rolfes, while running forward. It looks good. Reminds me of a combination he and Thomas Hitzlsperger did in the match against Turkey at the Euro 2008. Unfortunately, Rolfes could not read the idea at all, and the combination did not work.
the 39th+ minute – Lahm intercepts the ball, not letting Polish players continue with their plan.
And Lahm did some “cleaning up” during the match. It was also wonderful to see him smile and cheer on the sides when Cacau scored the late goal. Lahm was pure joy.
As the captain, [he] paid a compliment to his team, ‘because they have worked well.’ As a defender, he must have been annoyed because Germany conceded two goals in the match against Austria. And about the fact that nobody talks of his book any longer. In the first half, [he] had Dortmund’s Jakub Blaszczykowski well under control and still could play amazingly in the offense. After nine minutes, [he] had the World-Cup-2006-against-Costa-Rica moment, but this time the ball did not go into the net.
I get the hint of sarcasm with regard to the book but do not appreciate it. Other than that, quite true.
In his interview to team.dfb.de, Lahm concludes:
There were plenty of opportunities to score, it was going back and forth. Hence, it was a nice game for the audience to watch. We should have taken the lead in the first half as we had clear chances that were also numerous. Afterwards, it was a balanced duel. We did not demonstrate everything we could, we can play much better football. We made too many mistakes, including those in the build up play.
As I have mentioned earlier, I did enjoy the game; Lahm is right. It was a good test for the newbies, too.
PS.: On a side note, I did find the whistles inappropriate when Lahm was reading his team’s address about the fair play. There was a lack of respect, and I do not think this is how people should behave.