Less than 1000 German fans are reportedly traveling to see their side take on England at Wembley this Tuesday. Either they really hate flying Ryanair or the German fans simply aren’t arsed about a rivalry with England anymore. It could be something to do with all the ‘don’t mention the war’ jokes over the years or it may be that they no longer view England as a legitimate threat. Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Chile won’t have done much to change that view, second string players or not.
Under Joachim Loew a fresh crop of German talent has blossomed and they are now considered amongst the best in the world. They are the 5/1 joint second favorites to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Shorter than the reigning champions Spain on 6/1, behind only the hosts who are 10/3 in the betting.
Under Roy Hodgson the message has been more about managing expectations. Qualify for the World Cup first and then take it from there. Though he has talent at his disposal his pool isn’t anywhere near as deep as Loew’s. England’s 22/1 price to win in Brazil is a fair reflection of the current gap between England and Germany. Some might say it should be larger.
England are the Lewis Hamilton to Germany’s Sebastien Vettel. Like Lewis England has past glories and current promise but right now too many things need fixing in the team.
If we were to compare the two national teams in formula one terms, using the current points system, this is how England’s and Germany’s World Cup and European Championship finishes over the last 25 years would look.
So, as the metaphor mixing continues, England are losing the war but that doesn’t mean they’re going to lose the next battle. It may not be the most significant of England and Germany games but it’s still a scalp Roy Hodgson would like to have on his resumé.
Hodgson’s Chile experiment raised more questions than answers and we’re likely to see a full strength England in front of a predicted 80,000 supporters on Tuesday night. Steven Gerrard is reportedly taking pain-killing injections in a bid to play. Mesut Ozil, Philip Lahm and Manuel Neuer won’t even be asked to show up for the visitors. This is a chance for Loew to give ‘other’ players a try, which has to sting the English pride a little. England are like Chile to Germany these days. A good test but, you know, who cares?
Between the low number of travelling fans and the resting of star players it’s clear that the German interest in this rivalry has waned. This kind of apathy from the opponents could be just what Hodgson needs to get some positive press before the Premier League returns and we all stop caring about international football. England should have the support and the motivation needed to win this game, despite being 2/1 underdogs.
Also their last six results against Germany have gone Win-Lose-Win-Lose-Win-Lose. It’s hard to ignore a good pattern.