Saturday, June 24, 2006

Winner stays, looser goes home. This is round two, there are no second chances.
Sweden fought for their rights to play Germany today, winning once and drawing twice in round one. Germany comes steaming from round one, with three convincing wins under the belt. The stadium is loaded with German fans. Can Sweden stop the German train?
Sweden touches the ball first, inching onto Germany. The Germans have other plans and demand the ball.
Four minutes into the match Klose, a German striker, dribbles himself free in the Swedish penalty box, and he fires. The keeper blocks his shot, but cannot grab the ball. Podolsky, another German striker, picks up the rebound and blasts at the target. A Swedish defender tries to clear the shot, however he heads the ball into the net.


The stadium ignites, Germany detonates.
Sweden is shaken but they stay composed. In the seventh minute Larsson, a Swedish striker, dribbles himself free in the German penalty box. He is to the left of the goal, at a sharp angle. Instead of choosing the open far corner, he aims for the narrow window next to nearby post. He misses and the ball bounces off the side net.
Germany does not allow many possessions to the Swedes, they take the game to the Swedish half. In the twelfth minute Podolski, for Germany, rockets the ball from fifteen meters into the goal.


"I don't know what the Swedish defense is doing," says the commentator. "Sweden looks rattled."
Ballack, for Germany blasts at the target three minutes later. The Swedish keeper dives to stump it out. He is working hard while Germany puts the fear into the Swedish defenders. A German striker fires from twenty meters. Isaksson, the Swedish keeper, is the only Swede on the field stopping the German freight train. He dives for the save and stumps the ball out of play.
"What a rocket," shouts the commentator.
Twenty minutes into the game, Larson, for Sweden, tries to pull his nation back into contention. He frees himself in the German box and lines up the ball for a shot. He takes too long, and a German defender arrives to kick the ball from his feet.
Germany takes back the ball and does not let go anymore. In the thirty-third minute, I see Swedish defenders crunch and dive out of the way of another bullet to their goal. The Swedish keeper saves, and shouts at his defenders. I do not speak Swedish, and I could not hear him, but I know he is not using the type of language his mother will allow at the dinner table.
Ten minutes before the end of the first half Lucic, for Sweden, receives his second yellow card. The referee shows him red, and now only ten Swedes remain to defend off the Germans.

"Talk about up against it," says the commentator.
A minute later, Sweden comes close to a lifeline. The German keeper scrambles for a loose ball. The ball rebounds for a Swedish shot on target. While the German keeper hugs the post, after his fall, he slaps the ball away as if it was a fly.
In the second half, the referee helps the Swedes. He rewards Sweden a penalty, for a foul I could not see.
"Sweden on the verge of getting right back into this game," says the commentator.
However, the Swedish striker shoots the ball high and wide. The Swedish dream was lifted for a second, before being crushed on concrete.

Sweden's back is broken in two. Isaksson, the Swedish keeper, is the sole source why Germany does not get a third goal.
"Everything is going Germany's way", says the commentator while a German plays the ball through Swedish legs.
Germany outclasses the Swedes. If it was not for Isaksson, the Swedish keeper, it would have been four, five, maybe six-nil. All praises to him.
Germany is the first quarterfinalist. Heads up everybody, Germany has declared war.