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Germany 1 Poland 0


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The second round of the World Cup group stages sees Germany host their neighbours Poland. As we all know, teams with “history”, no matter how much “in the past” are fated to meet on the field of battle and right the wrongs of ages past. For both teams I have included a retrospective view of the 1974 World cup, as this was the last meaning full meeting between to two teams…

GERMAN NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM

The German national football team is one of the most successful national football teams. They have appeared in seven World Cup finals, winning three. They have appeared in five European Championship finals, again winning three. During the existence of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990, there were two German football teams: The East German and the West German team. World Cup and European Championship victories up to and including the 1990 World Cup were all won by the West German team. The 1976 Olympic Gold medal was won by the East German team.

The team is currently coached by Jurgan Klinsmann, a former star. Former coach Rudi Volks, one of the country's most capped players (90) and the coach since July 2000, resigned on 24 June 2004 following Germany's first-round exit in Euro 2004. The replacement process was much more drawn-out than normal. After four prospective candidates either refused to entertain offers or turned down the job, Klinsmann took the job on 26 July.

Then…

The 1974 FIFA World Cup in Germany was something extra-special for Beckenbauer and his team. From the first whistle, the home fans expected nothing less than victory. The high expectations were something the captain was all too aware of, "when you are hosts, there is obviously twice the pressure, because everybody expects you to win".

Gerd Mueller, Paul Breitner, Wolfgang Overath and the rest of the team withstood the pressure to make Germany winners for the second time. After the 2-1 victory over The Netherlands, Beckenbauer became the first captain to lift the brand new FIFA World Cup trophy after Brazil had retained the Jules Rimet cup in 1970.

Now….

Germany, with home field advantage and a talented team that belies their world ranking (22), will be looking to regain the fear factor that used to be instilled in all teams facing the prospect of playing the “Dreaded Germans”. Perhaps highlighted on a fateful night in Munich (Don’t mention the score!), the German teams seeming invincibility was only matched by their fall from grace and the inevitable plummet down the world rankings.

World Cup history

Germany, pre-division

• 1930 - Did not enter

• 1934 - Third place

• 1938 - Round 1

• 1950 - Did not enter

West Germany

• 1954 - Champions

• 1958 - Fourth place

• 1962 - Quarterfinals

• 1966 - Runners-up

• 1970 - Third place

• 1974 - Champions

• 1978 - Round 2

• 1982 - Runners-up

• 1986 - Runners-up

• 1990 - Champions

Germany, post-unification

• 1994 - Quarterfinals

• 1998 - Quarterfinals

• 2002 - Runners-up

• 2006 - Qualified automatically as host

POLISH NATIONAL TEAM

Poland played its first international match on 18 December 1921 in Budapest against Hungary and was defeated 0:1. Poland won the Gold medal in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the Silver medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In the World Cup, Poland has finished third twice: in 1974 and 1982.

Then….

In 1974 team Poland entered pool play in Group 4, a quartet that might earn the sobriquet “mini group of death” in the parlance of today’s football writing. Poland handled perpetual powerhouses Argentina and Italy, 3-2 and 2-1 respectively, to bookend their undefeated first round of play. Under the rules of the old Cup format, Poland made up Group 2 with West Germany, Sweden and Yugoslavia. Gutsy games against Sweden (1-0) and Yugoslavia (2-1) lead into what would be the game decider (and with the benefit of hindsight), bookmakers probably should have considered this one a pick ‘em. Excepting the brutal loss to East Germany in the first round, West Germany had found themselves playing to pre-tournament expectations (and there was that darned home-pitch advantage); Poland had already eliminated at least three legitimate contenders and seemed an unstoppable scoring machine.

Alas, it was not to be. A hard-fought tense contest was finally broken open by Gerd Müller in the 76th minute, in a water logged game, the most famous image of the which; still often shown on Polish television - A goal-bound strike from midfield maestro Deyna, was halted by a puddle in the penalty area. Polish dreams were dashed. Poland saved face in the often appropriately-named “consolation game,” with a Lato goal enough to give Poland the bronze in a 1-0 win over Brazil.

Now…

Poland; invaded and conquered in a matter of days by the German Blitzkrieg of 1939, will be hoping the team that nearly matched England both home and away in the qualifying stages, will be able to weather the storm and give a “Dam-Busting” performance to beat a team ranked only 4 places above them!

World Cup record

• 1930 - Did not enter

• 1934 - Withdrew during qualifying

• 1938 - Round 1 (top 15)

• 1950 - Did not enter

• 1954 - Withdrew

• 1958 to 1970 - Did not qualify

• 1974 - Third place

• 1978 - Round 2 (quarterfinals)

• 1982 - Third place

• 1986 - Round 2 (top 16)

• 1990 to 1998 - Did not qualify

• 2002 - Round 1 (top 32)

• 2006 - Qualified

ROUTE TO THE WORLD CUP

Germany.

Greased the right palms and controversially beat off a strong African bid to secure the “host nation” status, preventing the need to qualify; probably best, as the team was failing to perform on the pitch.

Poland.

Scoring 10 goals in 4 games the poles won 3 of their 4 matches in the initial spell of qualifying games in 2004 (Northern Ireland 3-0, Austria 3-1 and Wales 3-2), losing their only home game of the year to England (1-2).

2005 saw another successful year with 5 wins from 6 games, scoring 17 goals and conceding only 4, again loosing to England 2-1 this time at Old Trafford. Their victories were: Azerbaijan 8-0; Northern Ireland 1-0; Azerbaijan 3-0; Austria 3-2; Wales 1-0.

Qualifying 2nd to England after leading the group for so long, meant a tense wait to see if they claimed a best 2nd place finish spot, however with such an impressive run of form this was a mere formality and they were drawn in Group A, alongside the hosts.

Q&A

I would like to thank fans from the Polish Soccer Forum for the kind responses to my following questions; sadly none have been forthcoming from any German sites!

How has the pre-cup preparation gone for each of your respective team?

We haven't had much of it yet. We have only had 3 matches in the New Year. Zurawski, our star player has yet to even play in any of them to give you an indication of our experimenting. Given we had a few players making debuts and some regulars out, winning and losing didn't really mean all that much. Would have been nice for morale, but I think the players know they were the better team anyway. The key matches of importance before the World Cup will be against Colombia and Croatia.

How do you rate this game in importance for your national team and its chances in the World cup?

Considering most fans expect us to lose, not very! We are aiming to finish 2nd in the group unless Germany fail to perform, whereupon 1st is not beyond us!

Who would you see as your key players both in defence and attack?

On the attack it is definitely Zurawski, Smolarek, Szymkowiak, and Krzynowek. Frankowski used to be key but he is becoming more and more replaceable so I'm a bit hesitant to include him. On defense I would say Jop, Klos, and Bak. Although I would like to see different players than Bak especially they are who we have right now and if we are to do well we need them to do well.

Who from the opposition do you fear will cause yourselves the most trouble?

No one! We have a very strong team; sadly it fails to perform against so called “Bigger teams”. Our biggest hurdle will be convincing the team we can beat Germany! I think the match will do more with pride and confidence than it being important to us getting out of the group. That match should not determine whether or not we make it out of the group as we should beat the other teams anyway.

What do you think will be the score?

Germany 1:0 Poland

Every fans heart says they can/will win the world cup, but were does your head say you can finish?

I'd say it is almost a consensus at this point that everyone expects we will make it out of the first round. Considering we will likely play Sweden or England in a second round (should we make it) not many are too optimistic we will progress further considering we have had little success against either side. However, given the Rooney injury, or maybe some luck we do believe we are capable of beating them, but not many would 'expect' to do so.

I actually think Poland has a very strong chance if we can get our defence together. This will be as close to home field advantage in the world cup as we've had in a while (not only is Germany our neighbour but many Polish people live in Germany), so claiming Poland will go far is not a long shot at all.

Against England we played a rather timid game the last time we met, away from the style we were used to. Perhaps because of the fear we would not be able to match up against them unless we play defensively and away from our game (or perhaps we were playing for the draw I'm not too sure, I hope it is the latter).

If we prove we can do so against a team like Germany (get a good result using the offensive approach we are used to), that will I think give our coach faith in us that we can beat world class squads using our style (which I think we could have against England) and allow us to continue to do so which will give us a better chance at surviving longer in the tournament.

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Great Preview!

I am going for Poland, a great country full of lovely people. Kracow is one of my favourite cities in the world.

And obviously the Germans should lose every game. Forever.

Shame about most of their football fans though!

Potential trouble expected for this game i hear

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Germans seemed pretty good up front but a bit dodgy in defense in the first game, whereas Poland couldn't break down Ecuador in their first game.

As they've got the home field advantage, going for a Germany win.

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This isn't a moan about the coverage (you'll be happy to know) but don't you think that Hansen and Co are over-hyping England tremendously?

They were dreadful against Paraguay (and I don't believe this nonsense about the first half) and suddenly our esteemed pundits think that Germany are not much to worry about.

Germany are a lot to worry about. Their defence looked much more solid versus Poland. Ballack has added class to the central midfield. Odonkor will no doubt be in contention to start and provide pace on the flank. Lahm and Schweinstiger (sp?) look useful on the left and up front - Klose and Podolski aren't anything special but they can finish.

Add the home support and any team that faces Germany in the next round will have it tough regardless of what Shearer and Hansen say.

(BTW I have to say, Arno Friedrich, the German right back is so crap on the ball. He makes Gary Neville look like Cafu).

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Why doesn't everyone wait and see how this world cup pans out and then see who was over-hyped and who was underestimated. No point trying to sort it out after one game. Get over the fact that England are actually one of the favourites for this tournament. If you are English, enjoy it, if you aren't then either turn off your tv or shut up. It is exactly the same hype here in France and exactly the same I'm sure in all the big nations. I'll tell you that they talk as highly here in France of the England team as they are on the BBC, biased frogs.

(what happened to the language filter?)

Edited by Eddie
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Why doesn't everyone wait and see how this world cup pans out and then see who was over-hyped and who was underestimated. No point trying to sort it out after one game. Get over the fact that England are actually one of the favourites for this tournament. If you are English, enjoy it, if you aren't then either turn off your tv or shut up.

I shouldn't have to.

As for the French, they have even less reason to be optimistic. God that was a load of dreary rubbish yesterday. :blink:

Edited by Rovermatt
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Why doesn't everyone wait and see how this world cup pans out and then see who was over-hyped and who was underestimated. No point trying to sort it out after one game. Get over the fact that England are actually one of the favourites for this tournament. If you are English, enjoy it, if you aren't then either turn off your tv or shut up. It is exactly the same hype here in France and exactly the same I'm sure in all the big nations. I'll tell you that they talk as highly here in France of the England team as they are on the BBC, biased frogs.

(what happened to the language filter?)

Fair point. Teams that have been hyped up mightn't be as good as everyone would like to believe and vice versa. As you say, England are one in a long list of favourites along with the Czechs, Italians, Spanish, Brazilians, Germans, Portugese, Argentinians and Dutch.

As for the match tonight, God I felt sorry for the Poles. Don't get me wrong, Germany deserved to win, but to do it in the last minute when the Poles have defended so well with 10 men and the keeper has had a blinder, is so sickening for them. The German defence looked a lot better tonight and Ballack really makes them tick. It was another fine game in a long list of fine games from the World Cup and it's only six days old. :)

Edited by RoyRover
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I shouldn't have to.

As for the French, they have even less reason to be optimistic. God that was a load of dreary rubbish yesterday. :blink:

Long way to go yet. If the World Cup was decided in only one match, or even in the group stages, the list of winners would be very different.

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