Monday, July 03, 2006

What men they are

What a man he is a phrase regularly uttered by my friends and I. We use it to exclaim the brilliance either of ourselves (hardly ever each other) or someone worthy of such a superlative utterance. In this case, I direct it at two men. Thus: What men they are. The two international goalkeepers Jens Lehman and Ricardo that is.

The Portuguese keeper was the hero for his country as they progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup after beating England 3:1 on penalties. Admittedly, I can’t remember every detail of the match due to my parents visiting for the weekend and embarking on a wonderful weekend of Tiger draughts and Vietnamese Dalat Wine. I remember hazy highlights such as Beckham limping off, missed chances, a groin-crushing stamp and Rooney sent marching. We also made a quick exit from the Barmy-filled pub we were watching at before things got out of hand. What stands out vividly though is the English’ vigorous attempt at superseding the Swiss as the worst penalty takers of the new millenium. Ricardo’s wonderful three saves made sure of a semi-final berth against the French who outplayed (didn’t think I would ever use that phrase with regards to the French at this World Cup) reigning champions Brazil. The Gallic flair and perseverance was enough to upset the Samba rhythm and keep them at arms length.

Lehmann pulled off the same magic, once and for all sending the debate regarding Klinsmann’s choice of choosing him over Kahn to bed. The Germans were as clinical with their penalty kicks as their snipers 65 years ago. Lehman settled it with great saves against Cambiasso and Ayala. They now face a rampant Italian team who ran over a lackluster Ukraine. With Toni Luca playing himself into the same form he showed for Fiorentina earlier this year, netting two goals for the Azzurri, the hosts will face a stern challenge.

Let’s hope some other great men come to the fore so that this will not be the last time I can say “what a man he is” when mentioning Germany ’06.

7 comments:

mullet said...

"What a bunch of wankers!", a phrase that we use a lot more frequently to describe the crapness of people (almost always our burgs). This time I direct it at three men, The england penalty crew, excluding Hargreaves, thus: "What a bunch of wankers", Hehe, sorry bout making a spoof of your inspirational tribute to those 'keepers, but it had to be done.

henno said...

True, they were pretty bad. And to think that Hargreaves was the most criticised inclusion in the squad - he was, in my books, the best English player on the field (and he managed to score his penalty).

Anonymous said...

What's done is done brother and I feel for the poms, I realy do, seeing that I'm still among the geezers. I haven't seen such disappointment in a while, but heads up as the semi's are near. And I must say, no real regrets so far, as this is promising to be a bomb of an ending!
Janneman

Krizz said...

A german friend of mine SMSed this following the german victory: "Flags all over the place, first time since 1945 that people don't feel ashamed for that..."

mullet said...

"Wayne Rooney insists he lost his balance and was just steadying himself on Ricardo Carvalho's groin, not attempting a mid-game castration." what a classic quote from The Daily Mail! Yeah straight bru, the semi's are going to be killer. The pommies are starting to recover slowly now though. Funny though, the millions of flags that have been flying have almost entirely disappeared. Haha.

henno said...

So tonight Cristiano Ronaldo might crush Thierry Henry's face beyond recognition and the Daily Mail's quote would be: "Man U toyboy claims he 'just used Henry's extraordinarily-disproportioned lips and large, Gallic nose to steady himself as he was lining up a freekick into the top right-hand corner of Barthez' goal". Dem papers never lie!

mullet said...

Truth be told, ek se. Henno, you of all people know that there is a journalists oath much like the Hypocratic Oath. Something about honesty and service or something. Haha! Yah...