Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal.
- It is with great pleasure, and I know I say that every week and don't mean it. But, this week I really, really, really mean it. It is with great pleasure, that we welcome back to the pod, the man who many of us know as the voice of football, I think of as. If a soccer ball could actually talk? It would sound just like this man. Welcome back to Men in Blazers, Sir Ian Darke.
- The fireworks began at dawn. All around this city, loud pops and bangs rang out as men and women and children, so many dressed in yellow, set off flares and beeped car horns. It was supposed to be a magical day. The Brazilian national soccer team, playing at home, was one game away from a World Cup final. No one could have guessed the tears would come before halftime. No one could have imagined there would be flags burning in the streets before dinner. Certainly no one could have envisioned that any Brazilian fans, watching their team play a semifinal in a celebrated stadium, would ever consider leaving long before full time. It all happened. The 2014 World Cup, first plagued by questions about funding and protests and infrastructure and construction, then buoyed by scads of goals and dramatic finishes and a contagious spirit of joy from the local residents, will ultimately be remembered for this: the home team, regarded as the sport’s superpower, being throttled like an overmatched junior varsity squad that somehow stumbled into the wrong game.
- Now, then. Landon Donovan for the United States. Twisting, turning. Can he find the right ball? Cesar hit it away; it's played back in by Bocanegra. Oh, and nearly Altidore getting under of it. A really good clearance by Jokić; just when it looked as if Jozy Altidore might be in. They really have to put Slovenia under pressure. If they can get one goal, I think, John. You just wonder, whether then Slovenia might start to look a little bit shaky and start to wonder. He's got in, behind. Donovan, Donovan goes in and he scores! Oh, what a goal! Landon Donovan, tremendous strike for the United States! It looked impossible, but Donovan did it! And the USA are back in business!
- Certainly rolling the dice now. Bob Bradley as he had to, really. Here's his son, Michael Bradley. Decent effort. Donovan, the man whose goal has given the United States at least hope. Altidore to lay it down, Bradley! Bradley, has done it! USA are level! The comeback kings, strike again! Michael Bradley, for the USA! What a moment! 'Thank you son', says Bob Bradley. And I think the whole of the United States of America, says 'thank you' too. To Michael Bradley.
- Four minutes of added time. That might lift the United States, that's time enough. Dreadfully negative, really. From the Algerians, they're looking for things on the break. I suspect they'll get a chance or two, on the break. Ghezzal, that's a good ball he's found there to Guedioura who plays it deep. Saïfi, with a header. Howard, gratefully claims it. Distribution, brilliant. Landon Donovan. Oh, are things on here for the USA? Can they do it here? Cross, and Dempsey is denied again, and Donovan has scored! Oh, can you believe this? Go, go, USA! Certainly through! Oh, it's incredible! You could not write a script like this!
- Played in, and it comes out into Landon Donovan, who strikes again. What a golden goal for the USA, if you're just joining us? There it is, the moment. Deep, deep into the match! To give the USA surely, a place in the last sixteen. It is breathtakingly exciting!
- It is over! The USA have made it, in a Hollywood-style finish!
- Now, van Bronckhorst with pace! Oh, it is an absolute firecracker from Giovanni van Bronckhorst! One, nil. Holland!
- Cristiane with a chance to put Brazil at level. Hope Solo saved it! A hero again! What is it with Hope Solo and Brazil? Now what's the referee doing here? Is? The penalty? Is it going to have to be retaken? Because they're claiming Solo moved before the ball was kicked. Now this is very controversial, and Solo has got a yellow card for that as well. This is highly contentious! Now look at this again, does she move off the line? No, no, no, no! That is an astonishing decision in my view.
- Marta again, she'll keep the ball in the corner now, much to the annoyance of the crowd. The decision was goal kick. I think this referee knows that she made a very, very big call over that penalty. Morgan, and still it goes on here. Tobin Heath. Boxx. Carli Lloyd! Oh, uh. Couldn't keep it down. Chants of 'USA' ringing around the arena here in Dresden, and it do, does look like it's going to be to no avail. And it will go down as the USA's worst performance ever in the Women's World Cup. Cristiane can buy some time down by the corner, here. Eat away vital seconds. Now, USA have it. And they've just got to get everybody forward now. No sense defending anymore, Lloyd's got to get this pass off. To Rapinoe, and everybody's going to bum forward now. Rapinoe gets a cross in, it's towards Wambach! Oh, can you believe this? Abby Wambach has saved the USA's life in this World Cup!
- Just incredible! Look at Hope Solo celebrate! There is an American party going on, all around the terraces! Surely the whistle's going to go any second, and it will be a penalty shootout. Abby Wambach in the one hundred and twenty-second minute. Well that does match the drama of the men's World Cup last year, and the Landon Donovan goal which saved the USA against Algeria, doesn't it? Well, well, well! And the goal was scored in the time added on for the largely bogus injury, we think, to Érika. Is there some kind of poetic justice in that? It's not finished yet, though. Still the referee plays on, and here's Marta again! Solo beats it away; it will be a corner. How much more of this can there possibly be? It is over! It will be a penalty shoot-out! An incredible finish, one of the great climaxes to any World Cup match! Brazil are denied at the death! A ten-woman USA save it! Wow, we need to get our breath back. So let's go back to Bob Ley for a moment.
- Daiane, whose own goal started all the talking points today after seventy-four seconds. Seems a long, long time ago now. It was into this goal, now Brazil need her to put one in legitimately for them. Yes! Brilliant save from Solo, brilliant save! And that one is legal, and now that means, that if the United States put in the last two penalties, they will go into the semi-finals. That is a moment of magic from Hope Solo!
- The biggest moment, this. Of her soccer life. Ali Krieger, who recovered from that life-threating illness five years ago. Can she win it for the USA, here? And she does! And the USA are into the last four! It's been a near miracle, this! In Dresden!
- I think one word we can agree Bob is, uh? Epic, classic. Thriller, block-buster. I think all the clichés were made real. I mean? You woke up this morning, saying you felt nervous about this game. Now, I know why.
- Dempsey, great start here. Can Clint Dempsey score? He has! The U.S. ahead! Incredibly, within seconds! Now that, is dreamland! Clint Dempsey becomes the first American to score at three different World Cups!
- The dynamic of the group changes totally if the U.S. can hold on here. Gyan with a lovely ball, though. André Ayew, equalizes! It's a superb goal, to break American hearts! The resistance is broken!
- Zusi to take it, and there! It's there! What about that? It's John Brooks! It's John Brooks! For the USA! Have they stolen it? Quite incredible, he couldn't even have dreamt that.
- Andre Almeida. Back in, by Veloso. Oh, it's a miscue to Nani! Oh my goodness, me! The USA pressed the 'self-destruct' button there! A catastrophe in the U.S. defense.
- I think he was greeted when he arrived at the hotel in Brazil by a topless model and a guy dressed as Donald Duck.
- He comes late, corner wouldn't drop to a white shirt. Now it has, Jones. Oh, yes! Jermaine Jones, what a cracker from him! USA level! Simply, sensational strike.
- Really, it nearly got to him! He has got to Bradley, and then Zusi, and Dempsey! Is he onside? He is! It's two, one! To the U.S.! 'Captain Marvel', again!
- Can they do something here? It's Cristiano Ronaldo. Oh, it's a great cross! And it is an equalizer, from Varela! USA denied, right at the death! And you have to say, this is a terrific goal.
- Goes a long way, and there's Howard with the save to deny Mertesacker, and this time Germany do score, it's Thomas Müller! It is one, nil. To Germany. Him again, and now the tension is racked up.
- I think he's saying there should be more than a minute.
- Here's Toni Kroos. Sami Khedira. Now Müller. Free kick's going to be given Brazil's way; this is turbocharged.
- Klose, with a corner. Goes a long way and a goal! It's him again! Thomas Müller with his tenth World Cup goal in history, to put the Germans ahead! Well Brazil were behind in their opening game of the tournament against Croatia and came back to win. But, it might be a much harder job. Chasing Germany, of all the players.
- Oh, Kroos. Here's more problems here, it's Klose! The history man, he's done it! Two, nil! And that's the goal that puts him in the record books, forever! Brazil being taken to the cleaners, so far. Sixteen goals, an all time World Cup record. And this is his twenty-third World Cup appearance. The tears of Brazil, and that young lady not the only one spilling tears around this nation at the moment. But, wait a minute! Here's Bernard! Can he do something to get Brazil back into this?
- But, it isn't working. They're two down. Lahm, this time. Müller missed it! And that's three, Toni Kroos! Germany are running riot! They cannot believe it! Splendid hit, from Kroos. You've got something on that, as well. With Julio Cesar, couldn't keep it out. And Toni Kroos marks his fiftieth cap for Germany, with a goal. And once or twice in there, it's just resembling a shooting gallery. Oh, and look at this now. This could get worse; Khedira plays it inside. Oh! It's four, nil! Unbelievable! Kroos again! And Brazil are just being played off the park! This is quite astonishing.
- Two in two minutes for him, and Brazil's World Cup is surely over. This is the first time ever, that Brazil have trailed by four goals in a World Cup match. Four-nil down, twenty-six minutes on the clock. Germany, just too good? This is Brazil, not so much without Neymar. But, without Thiago Silva. Organizing their defense, and this could get a lot worse. Yeah? Unless this team tightens up somehow. Terrible mistake by Fernandinho on that last goal.
- Brazil v. Germany (8 July 2014).
- Look at this, again! Khedira plays it wide, Özil! Khedira again! Five, nil! This is utterly, beyond belief! Where is this goal scoring going to end? Well, if this was boxing? The referee would be stopping it, to save Brazil from further punishment. Five goals in the first twenty-nine minutes from a rampant Germany; Brazil have simply unraveled. Fred, here's Luiz Gustavo. Marcelo. Just need something, anything. To lift their confidence, but.
- Lahm, Khedira. Lahm, again. Trying to make sure, and they do make sure! Six, nil! You wonder where all this is going to end for Germany? Schürrle, getting in on the act. Well, they're really booing now. André Schürrle. Fred was booed off in the middle of all that. And Schürrle gets his second goal of the tournament, he got one against Algeria as well. Six, nil. Germany, really rubbing Brazil's noses in it.
- I think it's a sort of morbid fascination, for the Brazil fans now. They've paid a lot for their tickets, they're going to see it, whatever the story. I don't think they'll be watching a replay when they get home, somehow. How good are this German team?
- Could be more, here's Schürrle! Once again, that's seven! An utter humiliation for Brazil, just got worse! Germany in seventh heaven! What a hit that is; nothing Julio Cesar could've done really. That was travelling at the speed of sound, a devastated Julio Cesar. A devastated Brazil; a devastated nation. Most goals ever scored in a World Cup semi-final by one team. The records are tumbling by the second, it seems here. Ramires. I think these players frankly would like to get off this pitch and go into a tunnel, that led to Tristan da Cunha or somewhere. Bernard's cross, Marcelo. There's not enough room on the caption. They've got roll it through, to get all the goal scorers on. Two goals for André Schürrle since coming on as a substitute.
- Brazil, in their famous history have allowed seven goals only one other time. That was in 1934, when they lost eight-four to Yugoslavia. Well, you and I are pinching ourselves. I think everybody here is. Seven, nil? Yeah, me too. You've got to say, as bad have Brazil have been? Germany have just been absolutely brilliant. Schürrle. Olés now, and I think the Brazil fans are starting to join with it. They're starting to applaud the Germans, what else can they do? Really? Well it's an embarrassment for Luiz Felipe Scolari, as the coach. Isn't he, is? Schürrle, to cut that one back. And you wonder what the? The reaction of the fans will be? We? We've heard about protests and demonstrations, people saying this World Cup wasn't worth the money that was spent on it because more should be invested in the infrastructure of the country. Will those protests come back again? Well, there's going to be a big clear-out isn't there? For certain, after this World Cup. Okay, they've got to the semi-final. That's no mean achievement; plenty didn't of course. Here's Lahm, he'll want to get on the act as well. Schürrle wants a hat-trick. Well, you're watching a game here that's going to go down as one of the most astonishing in the entire history of the World Cup. Bernard, Paulinho. Marcelo, they're trying to give the crowd something. Ramires, no. He's not in the mood for getting beaten.
- All of Brazil is crying right now.
- Every fan in Brazil is crying right now. Brazil thought they would regroup after Neymar's injury and pull together to win the World Cup. Instead, they went down 0-5 against Germany before thirty minutes had elapsed in their semifinal match. It was stunning, horrifying and heartbreaking. The ESPN and Univision cameras caught despairing fans and their sadness is palpable. And even this Germany fan simply has no explanation for what has transpired. We are so, so sorry, Brazil. We feel the same way.
- Remember that feeling you had last Wednesday morning? Yeah, it was like you'd been kicked in the gut. But, you couldn't look away. Not even for a second. You were locked in, panicked. Scared stiff. Agony and angst at levels you never knew you had. It was near physical pain. But, in a blink? It was truly agony, to ecstasy. Oh, sure. Last Wednesday was do-or-die. But, now? It's what they call the 'knockout round'. Simple stuff. Win, and this incredible ride continues into the quarter-final. Lose? Yup, out of here. Landon, Clint. Tim. All of America is now on a first name basis with these guys. This band of brothers. We love them. But, what they represent? Real believers in themselves. So, yeah. Remember how you felt last Wednesday? It's about to get much worse. You'll be scared to even blink, for fear of missing another incredible moment. One that could keep this remarkable dream, alive. Team USA, the ultimate thrill ride.
- The experiment with Klinsmann was a failure. We were only working on our fitness in training. He didn't care much for tactical stuff. It was up to the players to come together before a match and discuss how we were going to play. All the players knew after about eight weeks that it was not going to work out with Klinsmann. The remainder of that campaign was nothing but limiting the damage.
- Philipp Lahm, The Subtle Difference: How to Become a Top Footballer (August 2011).
- Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.
- Gary Lineker after losing the 1990 World Cup semifinal to Germany by penalty shootout.
- Quoted in Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France, by Laurent DuBois, p. 79
- You're four-nil down! Go and be aggressive and kick somebody! Go and do something to influence this game!
- I hope the people in the United States are sitting, enjoying this game. Because, they will never see a World Cup semi-final like this. For the rest of their lives. I am shell-shocked!
- You just repeat yourself all the time, don't you? Ian, how bad is it in this goal? Look, space. Who's picking Philipp Lahm up? Nobody, nobody. The crowd venting their anger, yet again.
- He looks happy to come on the field, six-nil down. Come on Willian, get on there! Score seven, make your country proud.
- Yeah, they will score again. Germany, won't they? They've got twenty minutes left. If they keep up? Yeah. Look, Marcelo looks as if he can? Can't run anymore. But, Germany will score again if they want. Look at that, I mean? It looks as if Brazil have got nine men on the field; it looks as if it's eleven against nine.
- Defensive displays, and this is just blowing it completely out the water. Nil, seven!
- Thankfully, a couple of the people have scored a couple of times. So, they just put the number next to them. Otherwise, there's no space.
- Yeah. We're in a special place, Ian. We've seen some football matches in our time. But, I've never seen? Seen a game like this, or been in a spectacle like this. I'll remember this for the rest of my life.
- Fussball ist wie Schach, nur ohne Würfel.
- Someone said 'football is more important than life and death to you' and I said 'Listen, it's more important than that'.
- Bill Shankly, quoted in Das Spiel mit dem Fussball, by Jürgen Mittag and Jörg-Uwe Nieland, p. 9
- It's simple. Both the U.S. and England advance today with a victory. Win, and you're in. Our quarrel is not with them, for now. Though they did come here looking well beyond us, and we played them dead even. Now, ask yourself? Whose boots would you rather be in? Our goalkeeper got kicked in the ribs; theirs gave up something they call 'a howler'. Next, we buried ourselves. I know. But then, we made three shots heard around the world. Though the last one was drowned out by a lone, ludicrous whistle. So, who would you rather have leading by example? Who would you rather have, as your last line of defense? Who would you rather have, calling the shots? For us, it's been about a common goal. Not an automatic pass for a pack of superstars, and while our team is the U.S.? Today, you can call them 'us'. Because they've truly taken America along for the ride. While it appears England has turned on their team and vice-versa, we're winning our game. May their country forgive them if they don't win theirs. Ah, what the heck? Good luck today, we might just see you in the final. The South African journey continues. This is the World Cup.
- They call it the group of death. So be it. The U.S., Portugal, Germany, and Ghana. Ghana, West African nation about the size of Oregon. Took us out of the last two World Cups. They really seemed to enjoy it. In fact, we've never beaten Ghana. Some say that proves we don't measure up, that we'll never survive. And to that, we say? Thanks. You see? Here's the thing. You doubt us? Perfect. Underestimate us? Fine. Challenges are what we wake up for. Working harder is what we do. And this is who we are. It's called the group of death. Makes sense, because we're in it. U.S., Ghana. Now.
- You probably read the headlines. We didn't. We were too busy wiping off the blood. Licking our wounds. Yeah, we won the match. But we knew what was coming next. The best. Cristiano Ronaldo. Ticked off his team got embarrassed by Germany. Ronaldo. Not just a name, a brand. Maybe we should get his autograph. Here's the thing. None of that matters. We're learning, we're growing, and we're moving on. To the Amazon. Portugal is angry. Perfect. Now we find out, who we are. U.S., Portugal. Now.
- Nobody said this would be easy. But, we never expected it to be. We've crisscrossed this expansive country. Fought against Ghana, and had our spirits crushed against Portugal. The test has been physical, and emotional. Now, it's personal. Germany. A team we know all too well. Powerful, effecient. Some call them a machine. But, to us? They're men, who bleed. You see? We're about heart, and the people counting on us. We have to get the job done. It's simple. But, it isn't easy. This is what we expected. One game, to move on. USA, Germany. It's time.
- Germany became the first team to score five goals in the first 29 minutes of any World Cup game in history. It ended 7-1, but if we can summon just a touch more jingoistic national sentiment, we say fuck it, cheer for the Germans. They scrubbed America off the wrong side of the record book.
- Kyle Wagner, "Germany Smashed Brazil So Hard It's Good For America" (8 July 2014), Regressing.
- Even though the emotion and the drama of the situation, I wasn't thinking about that. I was just thinking about ball, head, goal.
- In the future, when I retire, I'll look back and I'll thank my lucky stars that I had such great players giving me those opportunities to score goals with my head.
- Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over [Geoff Hurst scores] it is now!
- Kenneth Wolstenholme's BBC TV commentary in the closing moments of the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final.
- Quoted in London Football Companion By Ed Glinert, p. 149.