Germany and the Netherlands show ice-cool temperament

by Charlie Coffey

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

While others around them have crumbled under the limelight, Germany and the Netherlands have barely broken sweat, strolling nonchalantly into the last four of the World Cup past Argentina and Brazil respectively. Both have played as if under no pressure; as if unaware of the billions of eyes watching them.

This virtue has been common in the mindset of the German Fußballnationalmannschaft (yes, that is a real word!) throughout World Cup history. It is exemplified by the fact that Lucas Podolski’s penalty miss against Serbia in the group stages was only the second penalty Germany have ever failed to score inside real time at the World Cup finals (the only other was by Uli Hoeness in 1974). Only nine of the 13 other penalties awarded in South Africa have been converted.

The experience of Mark van Bommel and the calm head of Wesley Sneijder along the spine of the team have ensured that the Netherlands have not been flustered by Brazil or any opposition for that matter, and have won every single one of the fifteen games played in qualifying for this World Cup and during the final tournament itself.

Sneijder, despite masterminding Inter Milan’s Champions League victory, has slipped in beneath the corporate radar that has put players like Leo Messi so high up on a pedestal that the only way is down. Sneijder has emerged as a contender for player of the tournament, playing seemingly without pressure. If he was more chilled out he’d be horizontal.

For most other players pressure will always be a factor at such a major tournament. Of course the Dutch and German fans and media, while they may not be as sensationalist as some (for instance those from Brazil or England), expect much from their boys in South Africa, but it is how the two sides have dealt with this heat that is so impressive. Both emanate confidence; both demonstrate a swagger that teams like France and Italy failed to achieve.

Spain are still the favourites of course, but it seems they are letting this pressure fracture the swagger they themselves usually exude, and their nerves can be seen by some uncharacteristically missed passes. They and the Netherlands are maybe also under added pressure to win the World Cup for the first time (Uruguay have won the trophy twice, of course, although too long ago for it to really effect proceedings in 2010).

If temperament continues to decide the World Cup in South Africa Germany will beat the Netherlands in the final. But don’t listen to me, I predicted Brazil would win the World Cup before they lost their heads to the sub-zero temperament of the Netherlands last week.

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  • Bill

    Germany and The Netherlands look like well-oiled machines right now.
    Germany will beat Spain 2-1, and then defeat the Dutch 2-0 in the final.
    You heard it here first!

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