Thursday, June 26, 2008
Euro 2008: It's midnight. Deal with it.
Lightning struck again at Euro 2008. Unfortunately for the Turks, it was real lightning—the kind that takes out worldwide television feeds—rather than the symbolic kind that sees Turkey come back from the dead one more time to win with unexpected late goals.
Although it was close. Turkey did score late to tie things up at two. But, it was those damn Germans and their efficient ways that produced the magic on this day. Philipp Lahm’s blast in the 90th minute--seconds before the world’s TV screens went black again—made the Croatian loss from a week ago seem like it was from a different tournament, a different time. The favourites are through. They did things in opposite order than expected—Portugal was supposed to be in the semis, not the quarters—but it hardly matters.
Germany just finds a way. Always has, likely always will.
But, right to the end it seemed as if Turkey might this time. They were unheralded, young, and seemingly always battling to overcome something. They were also the story of these championships. It hardly matters who wins this thing now (and does anyone really want to bet against Germany?), Turkey will be who they talk about in generations. If the Turks were a team from Cincinnati, the motion picture rights would have been sold already.
The Germans will not inspire poetry in the same way. They will have to settle for winning, which is something German football teams have been doing for years. Fairytales aside, Cinderella rarely gets to the ball and the science geek doesn’t often date the prom queen. Germany understands that. It is comfortable in its ugly step-sister, high school quarterback role.
It will be up to Russia today to keep fans of the underdogs happy. Against enigma Spain, you never know, but a 4-1 opening game loss would seem to point away from the possibility. The Spaniards are always supposed to go deep. For once, they look like they might.
Germany versus Spain on Sunday? Football fans could do worse.