I don't know exactly why I am writing this, but I feel the need to vent a bit after watching the games.
I hate German and English soccer teams. I always have. Likely I always will. At this point it is deeply ingrained in me. It has nothing to do with Germany, the nation, or England, the nation, or the people of either one. It's their style. They play ugly fucking soccer.
Tonight's Germany-Cameroon game was a classic example. Cameroon had really elegant ball-handling skills, some amazing passes, and mostly very clean defense. Germany's primary defense strategy, on the other hand, appeared to be "every time they get the ball near our goal, trip them or push them down." It's ugly, it's bad sportsmanship, and it is, IMHO, antithetical to what the beautiful game of soccer is all about. Unfortunately, it is an effective defense strategy, in the model of "by any means necessary" effectiveness. And Cameroon, bless their graceful hearts, lost.
Now, Cameroon is not a team I especially care about, not in the way that I care about, say, Japan or Spain. It's the game I care about. I like a clean, elegant game in which both teams display more skill at passing and dribbling than brute force. Soccer is not simply a sport; it is an aesthetic experience. Sports can be art in the way that nothing else except dance can be--the art of the human body at its best. That is what I want to see when I turn on the TV to watch soccer or any other sport. That's why I like Spain and Spanish clubs; they tend to play really elegant soccer and do it so well. That is also why I am a diehard supporter of Asian football--they tend to play cleaner games.
Any fucking monkey can tackle. Not any monkey can make some of those passes Cameroon was making tonight. But, sadly, soccer is here again a mirror of life. You may have all the style and all the skill, but if the monkey comes and tackles you, you are still going down.
If you don't believe Germany was playing a nasty game, check out the statistics of how many fouls each team had. I don't know the final tally, but last I checked Germany had about twice as many. It is true that both teams had the same number of yellow cards, but that is mainly because Cameroon often started threatening the German players after especially nasty and obvious fouls and were punished for that. But the fact remains that Germany did the vast majority of the fouling.