Thomas Muller

Top Five Flops Of The Euros So Far

The Group Stage of Euro 2016 has now been and gone, so BenjaminWillsBlog has taken a look at five players who have as yet failed to live up to the pre-tournament hype.

1) Antoine Griezmann – France

When Antoine Griezmann came off the bench to head France into a last-gasp lead against Albania it seemed like the Euros was about to burst into life for one of the continent’s top talents, however it has not yet been the case.

Atletico Madrid’s main man suffered a frustrating 90 minutes on opening night as Olivier Giroud and Dmitri Payet were needed to rescue the hosts and Griezmann was promptly dropped for the Albania game.

His goal got him back in the line-up against Switzerland, but again the Frenchman was ineffective as he has yet to get a proper foothold on this tournament which is underwhelming from a man many backed to win the Golden Boot.

2) Harry Kane – England

Harry Kane has been the top English goalscorer for each of the past two seasons, the current Three Lions squad is attacking and exciting, so, put the two together and you have a perfect blend, right? It would appear not.

At his club, Tottenham Hotspur, boy wonder Kane is used to being the main man, he plays on his own up front for Spurs, but with his country he finds himself deployed as part of a three-man attack and has so far struggled to find his scoring boots due to lack of service and perhaps is not suited to others doing the dirty work for him.

After unexpectedly failing to win Group B England find themselves on the harder half of the tournament table, and Kane will need to remember where the back of the net is if the Three Lions want to make a serious impression on this year’s Euros.

3) Paul Pogba – France

Since 1996, the Player of the Tournament at the European Championships has had two things in common: they were centre midfielders, and their country were crowned champions.

Paul Pogba and France were both tipped for glory this summer, both still might get their crowning glory, but neither have been entirely convincing as yet. The Juventus man has shown flashes of brilliance, in the first-half of France’s 2-1 win over Romania and during the 0-0 draw with Switzerland, but for a man touted as one of the best in the world and expected to command a fee of £70 million, the mercurial midfielder has not quite been firing on all cylinders.

Pogba will need to kick it up a notch if he wants to emulate his childhood hero Zinedine Zidane, who was the best player as France won Euro 2000.

4) Thomas Muller – Germany

The Germans. Ruthless, clinical, efficient, and any other cliche you want to use, none apply to Thomas Muller this summer.

He may only be 26-years-old, but Muller is as experienced as they come. The forward has 32 international goals in 74 caps, and a World Cup winners’ medal, but despite this he has never scored in a Euros, and that stat does not look like being wiped out any time soon.

Muller’s role is that of a Raumdeuter – a ‘space investigator’ in real terms – Mario Gotze as a false nine is supposed to create space for the supporting Muller, but so far the mean defences of Poland, and especially Northern Ireland, have managed to snuff out the Bayern Munich man out, leaving him ineffective.

5) Robert Lewandowski – Poland

This is new territory for Robert Lewandowski. Since his first season as a professional in the Polish second division with Znicz Pruszkow in 2006-07 he has scored fewer than 15 goals in a campaign only twice, but now when representing his country his magic touch seems to have worn a bit thin.

Lewandowski scored 30 goals in 32 matches for his club, Bayern in the Bundesliga last season and went into the Euros in hot form but after four games in France he has scored no goals and had just the one shot on target.

Despite one of the world’s hottest strikers blowing cold Poland have made it to the quarter-finals, getting on the scoresheet a grand total of three times in the process, but they need their star man to show up sooner rather than later, otherwise a great opportunity for history may go up in smoke.

Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET): Gotze goal wins the World Cup for Germany

Germany became the first European team to win the World Cup on South American soil with a 1-0 win over Argentina in the Maracana. A late Mario Gotze goal deep into extra time ended 24 years of hurt.

A deft touch from 22-year-old Gotze settled the final when he chested down substitute Andre Schurrle’s cross before dinking the ball past Golden Glove nominee Sergio Romero in the 113th minute.

Argentina had chances of their own in normal time and thought they had taken the lead on the half hour when Gonzalo Higuain turned in Ezequiel Lavezzi’s cross but the Napoli striker was denied by the linesman’s flag.

Higuain should have put the Argentines infront nine minutes earlier but spooned a volley horribly wide after a poor back header from Toni Kroos.

Rodrigo Palacio had an even better opportunity seven minutes into the first period of extra time but could only direct his lob wide of Manuel Neuer’s post after Mats Hummels missed Marcos Rojo’s cross field pass.

Die Mannschaft were not far way themselves in the first half when Schurrle’s snapshot was wonderfully saved by Romero after Thomas Muller’s pull back from the left. Romero’s save even more impressive as a German forward was blocking his way.

They came closest when Benedikt Howedes’ header rattled the post following Kroos’ corner. The ball landed at the feet of Muller who was ruled offside but Romero was there to smother anyway.

Golden Gotze Goal: Mario Gotze wins the World Cup for Germany.

Golden Gotze Goal: Mario Gotze wins the World Cup for Germany.

Lionel Messi failed to reach his best yet again and will rue his best shooting chance that arrived two minutes into the second half – dragging a shot wide after being played in by Lucas Biglia.

Kroos could have won the game for Germany in normal time but hit a wasteful shot wide after being set up by Schurrle.

Schurrle himself had the chance to win the final for Joachim Loew’s side, his stinging shot one minute into the extra time period was straight at Romero however.

The game did have its ugly stages though, first Neuer clattered HIguain in a 50-50 challenge that almost resembled Harald Schumacher and Patrick Battiston’s clash in 1982 and left Higuain out cold for a short period. The Argentine was penalised.

Sergio Aguero was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch himself after being involved in a nasty collision with Bastian Schweinsteiger that left the Bayern Munich midfielder bleeding.

It is Germany who are world champions though for the first time since 1990 – where they beat Argentina in the final.

 

 

Brazil 1-7 Germany: Hosts humiliated as Germany in seventh heaven

Miroslav Klose became the all time top goalscorer in World Cup history as Germany are the first team to secure their spot in the 2014 Final with a thumping 1-7 win over hosts Brazil.

Thomas Muller and Sami Khedira also netted while Toni Kroos and substitute Andre Schurrle both scored a brace in one of the worst nights in Brazil’s fabled history.

Muller opened the scoring when he hit a side footed volley past Julio Cesar from Bastian Schweinsteiger’s corner just eleven minutes in.

Golden Boot candidate Muller, 24, was unmarked in the box and it was a sign of things to come as Brazil’s defense was lackadaisical throughout.

Thiago Silva missed the game through suspension and Germany were quick to test out the new partnership of Dante and stand-in skipper David Luiz and exposed it to maximum effect.

Klose netted his record breaking goal with 23 minutes played after a neat passing move from the Germans. Kross picked out Muller who laid it back to Klose, his initial shot was saved but the Lazio striker had no problem converting the rebound for 0-2.

Marcelo and Fernandinho the men to blame for the goal, Mesut Ozil and Phillip Lahm had little trouble on the left to work it to Kroos while Fernandinho missed the vital interception that gave the Bayern play-maker the space to orchestrate the play.

Not even Klose: Miroslav Klose scores Germany second to become the finest marksmen in World Cup history.

Not even Klose: Miroslav Klose scores Germany’s second to become the finest marksmen in World Cup history as Brazil are thrashed.

Full back Marcelo was suspect again for the third that arrived just seconds after too. Ozil and Lahm again enjoying the space on the left, Lahm found Kroos with a pinpoint cross that was smashed home first time. Cesar got a hand to it but to no avail.

Germany ran rampant in Belo Horizonte and added a fourth only a minute later – the most embarrassing of the lot. Stupid, careless passing finished with Fernandinho losing the ball cheaply to Kroos who played in Khedira who unselfishly squared it back to Kroos for a simple tap in.

The wait for the fifth wasn’t too long either, three minutes after number four went in, Germany added to their rout with a carbon copy of the previous strike. Former Real Madrid teammates Khedira and Ozil with a one-two that the current Galactico slotted in.

179 seconds separated Germany’s second goal from their fifth.

Joachim Loew’s side didn’t let up in the second half either, Schurrle converted Lahm’s low cross for six. Again Marcelo outdone on the left, again Luiz failing to organise his back four like the absent Silva does so well.

A bad night for Luiz continued to get worse when his former Chelsea colleague Schurrle added his second and Germany’s seventh.

The £50 million PSG man rampaged forward as he so often did throughout the course of the game and ended up being caught out again this time by long, direct Jerome Boateng throw in that Muller flicked on to the path of Schurrle who beat Cesar at his near post with a half volley that went in off the underside of the bar.

Oscar did hit back with a the most worthless consolation goal. Brazil broke following a poor miss from Ozil, Oscar escaped through the middle, sidestepped the last defender and buried the shot.

It was Brazil’s joint worst ever defeat and the biggest margin of victory ever in a World Cup Semi Final.

Brazil fans expected their players to return as heroes but instead they go back humbled as Deutschland are in dreamland.

Germany 4-0 Portugal: Germans ease past Portugal.

A typically ruthless Germany side cast aside Portugal 4-0 but the game was overshadowed by a moment of madness by Pepe.

The Brazilian born defender was involved in an innocuous challenge with Thomas Müller who threw himself to the floor with minimal contact. Pepe took exception to this in typical Pepe style and aimed a headbutt at the Bayern Munich forward while he was down and was sent off.

Germany struck an early lead when Mario Götze was brought down in the box by João Pereira the spot-kick was dispatched by Müller with ruthless German efficiency to Rui Patricio’s right for the first of his three goals. Pereira only received a yellow card for his offense but probably should have seen red as he denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Sami Khedira could have struck gold for Germany before that when after eight minutes, a dreadful clearance by Patricio landed at the feet of the Real Madrid midfielder but he shot just wide from a long way out.

The second wasn’t too far away though. A magnificent pass from Toni Kroos found its way to Mesut Özil who cut it back to Götze whose shot was deflected wide by Bruno Alves.

Kroos’ resulting corner was powerfully headed in by Mats Hummels in the 32nd minute.

Spot on: Müller puts Germany ahead.

Spot on: Müller puts Germany ahead.

It was 3-0 soon after when, following the red card, Portugal were exposed at the back, Müller took a touch before firing past Patricio’s from twelve yards after another Kroos delivery.

Müller bagged his hattrick twelve minutes from time when substitute Andre Schürrle’s cross shot was parried by Patricio into the path of Müller who had the simple task of prodding home from all of about four yards.

Portugal were disappointing throughout and Cristiano Ronaldo did little to inspire his colleagues and had limited service, even less so when they were down to ten men.

He did however test Manuel Neuer with one his trademark free-kicks in added time but could not get his goal.

A truly miserable day for Portugal was compounded with Fábio Coentrão tearing a muscle when going in for a challenge, he was subbed straight away and his tournament future looks in doubt.