There have been plenty of creative adjectives thrown at the German team recently in the wake of their thumpings of both England and Argentina at the World Cup.
Youthful, dynamic, exuberant and even exciting are words not usually associated with the Germans, traditionally portrayed in the press as dour, straight-laced and efficient.
But, if you think about it, nothing has really changed from previous tournaments. Ok, they may have more foreigners in the side than the England cricket team but that good old German efficiency from teams gone by is still there for all to see. Maximum result, minimum effort are their watchwords as they once again prove masters at tournament football.
Take the Argentina game for example. They took the lead with pretty much the first attack of the game before sitting back and soaking up pressure for 60 minutes, allowing Messi and co plenty of possession to huff, puff and blow the Jubilani ball high over the bar.
Then, as Argentina push more men forward, they hit them with two goals on the counter in quick succession. This was the definition of ruthless efficiency, a German characteristic if there ever was one, and one so predictable that even Paul the Octopus gets worldwide credit for guessing a German victory. The World Cup 2010 online betting may not have given them much of a chance pre-tournament, but they are among the favourites now.
It was the same in the England game, though England’s failure to offer any sort of tangible resistance somewhat devalues their efforts.
Next up is Spain who have become quite adept at snatching the lead before passing the ball to death for the remainder of the match. Both sides have lost the only time they have fallen behind at this World Cup so it will be interesting to see how they react when they are shoved off their usual match pattern.
Spain’s World Cup odds made them favourites before the tournament started, but they will need to find another gear if they are to progress.
However, one thing is for sure – if it goes to penalties there will be only one winner.