You Make The Call

Okay, sports fans. You're Germany's coach, and you squeaked your way into the Final.

Oops. Spoiler shield.

Crap, I can't find an easily stolen picture of Germany celebrating, ruining my joke about the spoiler shield being a spoiler. Even Al-Jazeera protects their images these days! What's up with that?

Well, it's been a tournament where, except for the quarterfinals, Greatest Games Ever Played are a dime a dozen. I can only imagine what Spain and Russia have planned for us today.

Turkey made a lot of fans in this tournament - probably more in defeat than arch-enemy Greece did four years ago in triumph. I don't know if I'm going to read a "My best friend got stabbed in Istanbul, but after Euro 2008 I bought a Nike Turkey kit" testimonial from fans in Leeds, but they've certainly erased the embarrassment of the 2006 qualifying campaign. I was firmly in the "2002 was a fluke, and they can't play away from home" camp regarding Turkey, but now I've changed my mind. Or else I was simply mixing up Turkey with South Korea and the US.

This is yet another time where silly red cards changed the course of the tournament. In 2006, it was Torsten Frings in a post-game extracurricular that forced him to miss the Italy semifinal...and his presence would certainly have been enough to break the deadlock before Italy came roaring back in extra time. This year, it was Volkan Demirel. Sure, there's no way to know for sure whether he keeps out one, or two, or three of the goals Germany scored yesterday. And when you think that, hm, maybe two matches was a little harsh of a ban...you can see where the rest of the world isn't dancing in the streets over Germany's triumph just yet.

Anyway, here's the question. You're Joachim Loew. Your hair is suspiciously dark, Colin Kazim-Richards thinks you run an unsportsmanlike outfit, and your defensive weak link is now a national hero.

Do you say "Thanks for cancelling out your mistakes, Phil - now, apply ass to pine until further notice"? Or do you say "A player only has a certain amount of suckitude in them, and presumably you got it all out Wednesday"?

My choice? Start Lahm at forward. Andy Gray was right, that was a multimillion pound goal. He's clearly been wasted all these years in defense.