Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents A75
Thursday, July 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
RIO DE JANEIRO---A European
presence in the World Cup
semifinals is assured as Ger-
many and France meet at the
Maracana tomorrow, looking
to shrug off stumbling wins in
the second round that exposed
frailties in both teams.
Contesting a quarterfinal for
the ninth straight World Cup,
the Germans will start as slight
favourites because of their vast
experience in major tournaments
but with doubts surrounding a
slow, porous defence that was
breached repeatedly in the 2-1
extra-time victory over Algeria
If goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
hadn t produced the kind of
sweeper display that German
greats Franz Beckenbauer and
Lothar Matthaus would have
been proud of, Joachim Loew s
side could have been on the end
of a real shock.
The French also left it late in
the last 16, scoring twice in the
final 11 minutes to beat Nigeria
2-0 in a gritty performance that
failed to match the swashbuck-
ling attacking exhibitions they
put on in the group stage.
France was thrust among the
tournament favourites after scor-
ing a combined eight goals
against Switzerland and Hon-
duras. Yet, Didier Deschamps
inexperienced team played with-
in themselves against Nigeria,
perhaps struggling under the
weight of lofty expectations.
Deschamps counts France as the
"Don t forget that in the last
two competitions, Germany have
reached the semifinals so it
counts for something," he said,
referring to the 2010 World Cup
and the European Championship
"They re used to playing at
the highest level and have expe-
rience of playing at this stage of
a competition. All of the German
players play in big clubs, a lot
of them play for Bayern Munich."
Still, after starting up in Brazil
with a 4-0 victory over Portugal,
Germany s displays have been
far from convincing. Nerves are
beginning to show and Loew---
under pressure to finally win a
title in his fourth major tourna-
ment---has been on the defen-
"Should I now be disappoint-
ed that we are in the last eight?"
he asked, rhetorically, on Tues-
day. "There are such games in
every tournament when you
need the willpower to advance."
Defence undoubtedly is
Loew s chief concern, although
the probable return of Mats
Hummels at centre back after
illness will make up for the loss
of Shkodran Mustafi for the rest
of the tournament with a left
There may also be a change
in the centre of France s defence,
with Mamadou Sakho available
again after a hamstring problem
that caused him to miss the
Nigeria game. However, Laurent
Koscielny had a good display as
the replacement, helping the
French to a third clean sheet in
four games in Brazil, and would
be unlucky to lose his place.
As part of a revamped squad
under Deschamps, the likes of
Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and
Antoine Griezmann are playing
at their first major tournament
and being exposed to football s
highest stage for the first time.
The coach, though, remains
"There is a form of insou-
ciance with the younger players,"
Deschamps said, "they re full of
life, that s what you expect from
a younger player. But it s also a
question of quality."
Any time France and Germany
meet, memories are revived of
their famous clash in the World
Cup semifinals in 1982 when
West Germany came from 3-1
down to draw 3-3 and win the
shootout. In that game, West
Germany goalkeeper Toni Schu-
macher rushed out of his area
and broke the jaw of Patrick Bat-
tiston with a feet-first tackle
that was not punished.
West Germany also beat
France in the World Cup in 1986,
2-0 in the semifinals, but France
has won four of their six matches
since German reunification in
The quarterfinal in Rio de
Janeiro offers another chance for
veteran Germany striker
Miroslav Klose to break the
World Cup scoring record of 15
goals that he currently shares
with Brazil great Ronaldo. Klose
is likely to start on the bench
against behind Thomas Mueller.
As for the French attack,
Deschamps must decide
whether to start with Griezmann
in a three-man attack after his
appearance against Nigeria.
Olivier Giroud struggled in that
match and could be dropped for
Griezmann, allowing Karim Ben-
zema to play as a central striker.
France, Germany meet in
all-Euro World Cup quarter
France midfielder Blaise Matuidi, centre celebrates a Joseph Yobo
own goal with his teammates in their 2-0 World Cup round of 16
victory against Nigeria in the Estadio Nacional Arena, Monday.
Germany's Mesut Ozil, left, and teammate Andre Schuerrle (9)
celebrate after Germany defeated Algeria 2-1 in extra time during the
World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Germany and Algeria at
the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Monday. AP PHOTO
In this June 30 file photo, France's Paul Pogba
celebrates with teammate Mathieu Valbuena, left,
after scoring during the World Cup round of 16
soccer match between France and Nigeria at the
Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil. AP PHOTO
Wacky haircuts a standout
feature of World Cup
CUIABA, Brazil---It was an odd place to find
three international footballers on the eve of a
crucial World Cup game, inside a small hair salon
located on the forecourt of a gas station on the
outskirts of a remote Brazilian city. But there
they were, Nigeria stars Emmanuel Emenike,
Kenneth Omeruo and Ahmed Musa, eager for a
new style and colour touch-ups for the big
match against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"They are very vain," said Dirce Cardoso, owner
of the Salao de Beleza Aeroporto in southern
Cuiaba. "They wanted to be pampered." So
Cardoso obliged. She cancelled her other
appointments, closed the salon and gave the
footballers the full VIP treatment. Two of them
got a Mohican and two of them had their hair
dyed black. Total cost: $71---and Cardoso was
even treated to a ticket for the match.
It seems like we have a new addition to the
footballer's pre-match routine---healthy meal,
massage, a few media interviews... and a new
haircut. This World Cup has been a tournament
full of goals, surprise results and breath-taking
skills, but also some of the wackiest, most
outrageous hairstyles you'll find in sports.
Rat tails, mohicans, dreadlocks, braids,
bleached blond, outlandish side-partings, the
"Afro"---you name a hairstyle, and at least one
player is certain to have had it. And it's been the
talk of Twitter during games. Footballers appear
to be pre-occupied with their hair like never
Here are five of the craziest hairstyles at the
---Rodrigo Palacio, Argentina: with his shaved
head except for a rat's tail at the back, Palacio
arguably has the most jaw-dropping haircut at
the World Cup.
---Raul Meireles, Portugal: his Mohawk has
been compared to the one sported by Robert De
Niro in 'Taxi Driver.' His thick beard and all-over
body tattoos add to his scary-looking
---Marouane Fellaini, Belgium: the king of the
football "Afro" but maybe not for much longer.
Fellaini has vowed to chop it all off if Belgium
wins the World Cup.
---Kyle Beckerman, United States: let his curly
hair go wild after leaving home some years ago.
Now Beckerman looks like the US squad's very
own Bob Marley.
---Paul Pogba, France: not satisfied with having
a bleached line through his Mohawk, Pogba also
has two bleached stripes on the shaved sides.
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