Posts Tagged ‘ Germany ’

Bad Hair, a Historic Run, Crazy Fans and Bad Refereeing (World Cup 2002) Part 1

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Four years on from France 98 and I was ready. Having been completely consumed by Euro 2000, I looked forward to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. With the help of the internet I was able to learn more and more about the teams and stay up to date on the most recent results.

The tournament started earlier than usual due to the rainy season and, due to the time difference, games kicked off in the middle of the night here in the United States. The United States had qualified (including the first Dos a Cero in Columbus) and opened up against a Portugal team led by their Golden Generation (Vitor Baia, Sérgio Conceição, Jorge Costa, Rui Costa, Fernando Couto, Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, João Pinto, etc.), who had made the semis of Euro 2000.

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The night before the game I had a strange dream, a dream in which the United States thrashed the Portuguese in a stunning upset. Quite the premonition but complicated by the fact that I had slept through the match, missing the Stars and Stripes stunning achievement. I awoke in the early hours and drove to a friend’s house where local coaches were assembling to watch the match, and, as the memorable first half unfolded, my dream was becoming a reality. Portugal fought back and nearly saved a point, but the US held on and set the stage for a historic tournament, in which they reached the Quarter Finals.

This tournament was memorable for several reasons. Recently wed, my wife and I had rented the upstairs of a house and were starting our lives together. Our house didn’t have air conditioning, so I was sweating in the heat even at 2am. I was able to get out of the house to watch the morning matches, as a local bar hosted watch parties for the US games. It was my first taste of communal watching with US fans and not just ex-pats watching EPL and FA Cup games.

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Referees were in the news due to several key decisions: Italy falling to South Korea, partly due to some dubious decisions; Spain also losing to the hosts and some even more questionable calls (ball not going out of bounds, phantom whistles, etc); and the no handball call in the Germany/USA game. Frings  stopped the shot on the line and nothing was called.

Average goals continued to decline for the third straight competition but there were some amazing strikes (apologies for the awful music). Uruguay produced two great goals, one by Darío Rodríguez  against Denmark and another by Forlan against Senegal. Edmilson hit a half bike against Costa Rica, there was Torrado’s laser against Ecuador, and Japan’s interplay for the single goal against Russia was fantastic. Dynamic free kicks were also on show with Roberto Carlos against China, Raouf Bouzaiene for Tunisia against Belgium, and Johan Walem for Belgium against Russia. The champions produced two wonderful goals, with Ronaldinho torturing Cole before laying off for Rivaldo and their second against Germany in the Final.

YOKOHAMA - JUNE 30: Ronaldo of Brazil lines up before the World Cup Final match between Germany and Brazil played at the International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won the match 2-0. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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Defending champions France were absolutely abysmal, going home with only one point and no goals scored. Brazil made the Final but not before Rivaldo had a shameful dive against Turkey in the Group Stage. Unfortunately Ronaldo unleashed a horrible haircut on the world as well. But one of the lasting memories of the tournament was the noise of the South Korean fans. Watching them support one of the surprise packages of the tournament was a joy. This summary from the Guardian team really captures the highlights (and lowlights) of the tournament.

World Cup 2002 Film

World Cup 2002 Final highlights

History of Bayern Munich home shirts

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If I had to do life over again, I may have followed the Bundesliga instead of the EPL. Doesn’t address supporting my own domestic league, but that’s a discussion for a different day. Incredible teams, passionate fan support and amazing players. Historically Bayern Munich are the top dogs and from what I knew, they had always worn red home shirts, hence the name Die Roten. But one day I read this post from Museum of Jerseys, clicked on a link and my mind was blown.

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Fußball-Club Bayern München started with a sky blue shirt and white shorts. Think about that. Sky blue. A post from Bundesliga Fanatic mentions:

. . . “in the club constitution a genuine Bavarian color scheme was mandated. The founders of Bayern settled on white shirts & blue shorts. The only problem: It was impossible to purchase blue shorts during the early 1900s, therefore Bayern was forced to wear black shorts which they called “darkblue.””

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After two seasons the Bavarians changed to a white shirt with black shorts, and following a merger with Münchner Sport-Club (MSC) in 1906, the club changed to a strip of a white shirt and maroon shorts and this combo lasted until 1927 except for a short interval featuring a shirt with light blue and maroon stripes from 1909 to 1912.

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The 1927/28 season saw the introduction of a white and maroon striped shirt with maroon shorts which morphed into a white shirt with maroon sleeves and maroon shorts that was worn from 1931 to 1955. Looks fantastic. A kit of a maroon shirt and black shorts took over for two seasons before 1957/58 saw the return of white, with either a mostly white shirt or a white shirt with maroon sleeves, both worn with maroon shorts.

In 1968 everything changed. For one season the German club wore blue and red vertical stripes with blue shorts. It was an echo of the kits used from 1909 to 1912 and very similar to Barca’s strip. The following seasons of 1969-1973 saw a red and white shirt with red shorts (white shorts in 1970/71). The trefoil and three stripes of adidas were added to the shorts in 1971. Another one off shirt was worn in 1973/74 as the Reds wore a white shirt with a thin horizontal stripe of red and blue opposite the club badge with white shorts.

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In 1974 the club adopted the rich red shirt that I associate with the club. That year also saw the adidas logo appear on the shirt with the wordmark across the chest, the trefoil opposite the club badge, and the three stripes down the sleeves. As far as I can tell adidas and Bayern Munich have the longest running partnership between manufacturer and club, and adidas even picked up a small percentage of shares in the club in 2002.

An all red strip with varying design elements was worn until 1991 with an all white strip in 1977/78 being the outlier. 1991 saw the emergence of the adidas Equipment branding and the use of blue on Bayern shirts for the first time in 20 years. Three diagonal bars were seen on the shoulder opposite the crest and on the shorts. For the 1993/94 and 1994/95 season, things went one step further with the same template and the addition of blue sleeves. In 1995, the red/blue vertical stripes re-appeared with a white collar. 1997 saw the first predominantly blue jersey since the original days of the club and in a much darker hue. Big red bands broke up the navy blue diamond shadow pattern.

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Images via Die Grosse Fussball Sammelalben

The 1999/00 season saw red return as the main color, although the shirts for the 2001/02 and 2002/03 seasons were more of the historic maroon with charcoal sleeves and shorts. Horizontal red and white stripes got a look from 2007 to 2009. The stripes went vertical for the 2010/11 season in homage to shirts from the early 70s.

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Images via Die Grosse Fussball Sammelalben

For the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons, Die Roten wore an all red kit with gold trim. This looks really good and is one of favorites. White replaced gold the following season and adidas added a diamond shadow print, similar to the crest in the body of the shirt for another really nice design. The 2014/15 campaign saw the return of the blue and red vertical stripes. White was used as the accent color on the ring collar, stripes on the shoulders, cuffs and down the torso.

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An all red kit was present for the 2015/16 season as adidas used a darker red on the collar, brand markings, cuffs and waist to complement the traditional red. The 2016/17 shirt is all red with horizontal stripes of a very subtle contrasting red, a full collar with red buttons on a white plaquet.

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Where the club and adidas go from here is anyone’s guess. I would love to see the white shirt with either maroon trim or sleeves. Thinking Arsenal’s away shirt from 2007/08. Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this look at Bayern Munich home shirts. I learned a lot about the club and found some really interesting designs.

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Resources for this post:

Special thanks to Denis Hurley of Museum of Jerseys for his help on this project.

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Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Ajax, the Dutch, the War

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Ajax, the Dutch, the War, Simon Kuper

This book was enjoyable but I think would have gotten more out of it if I had a better knowledge of World War II and the cultural and political happenings of the Netherlands and Europe. The relationship with the Jews for the Europeans generally and some soccer clubs specifically, is a large part of book. Again I don’t have a good understanding on this topic. Finally, a deeper familiarity with the histories of Feyenoord and Ajax would have allowed those passages to have made more sense. Having said all that, I did learn a lot, including the fact that soccer did exist during the war, which surprised me.

Whereas Dynamo was more of a linear story about a specific story line of the war, Kuper bounces around Holland and Europe to share his information and interviews. The delineation between good and evil is explored and challenges the reader. My favorite part of the book was anecdotes about various players attempting to keep playing football during the war either by changing their identity or escaping or negotiating with Nazis.

Kuper’s prose tells a tale of a very dark time in human history, and the book is worth reading because it gives a greater context to the influence of World War II on the game, the Netherlands, and football clubs in that country.

Top Five Matches

I came across a post on reddit asking Which five matches changed your life?Loved the question and after thinking about it for a bit, here’s what I came up with:

1996       England v Germany Euro 96

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This game created the template for watching soccer while working. ESPN picked up the rights to this tournament and I fell in love with Croatia, saw Gazza’s wonder goal against Scotland, and the Czech Republic’s heartbreak in the Final against Germany. In the previous round, England played Germany in a rematch of the 1990 World Cup Semi. I was working as a summer intern at the FBI and snuck up to a conference room to watch the second half and penalties. England were so close but after 11 perfect spot kicks, Southgate’s miss condemned the Three Lions to defeat.

1999       Bayern Munich v Manchester United   Champions League Final

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As my love for the Red Devils continued to grow, the Treble season reached its dramatic conclusion in Barcelona. With no Keane or Scholes, United was up against it and when Basler scored in the opening minutes, I didn’t believe. Negative by nature I just waited for Bayern to seal the game and accept defeat. But when Sheringham poked home from close range I screamed with excitement. And when Solskjaer put the ball in the Germans net, I ran around the house in sheer joy.

2002       USA v Portugal   World Cup 2002 Group Stage

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In the days leading up to the game, I had a dream that the US crushed Portugal like 6-0 but I had missed it by sleeping in. Due to the time difference, the game kicked off at 4am ET. On the morning of the game, I drove frantically to a friend’s house who was hosting people. After the early US blitz I thought maybe I had had some sort of premonition but alas, Portugal fought back and made for a nervous last couple of minutes. That tournament was amazing and I got up at all hours to watch the matches.

2009       Real Madrid v FC Barcelona     La Liga

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In the late 90s and early 2000s I start following FC Barcelona and watched a dramatic 2006 Champions League Final against Arsenal. In the years following, that magic team was broken up and rebuilt and taken over by Pep Guardiola who drove the Blaugrana to an unprecedented, at the time, Treble. Real Madrid hunted Barca down in the league and set up a crucial meeting at the Bernabeu, and when Los Merengues scored first, a sick feeling came over me. And then magic happened with Henry and Messi tearing apart the hosts, each scoring twice, and also getting goals from Puyol and Piqué. It was breathtaking and set the stage for Iniesta’s moment of magic at Stamford Bridge and an amazing finish to the season.

2012       Manchester City v QPR     English Premier  League

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The dramatic end to the 1988-89 season was before my time, so when United came back from 0-1 against Spurs in the final league game of 1999 to clinch the title, I didn’t think it could get much better than that. I was wrong. A bunch of fellow fans gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings for Fox’s Survival Sunday, with all ten games on an array of channels. With fans from several different teams present, cheers and groans were constant depending on the action. Eventually we started calling out the TV numbers to keep track of the events. United secured victory at Sunderland and with City down 1-2 against QPR, another league title looked secure. But the fickle finger of fate intervened and Dzeko equalized, setting up Aguero’s moment of glory. Stunned I drank several shots as I watched the celebrations at Etihad. Gutted by the result, it was still one of the greatest soccer community events I have ever experienced.

Let me know what games impacted your soccer support in the comments below.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Top Ten Posts of 2014

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2014 was a great year for the SoccerNomad blog.  Visitors from all over the world read about kits, memories and more.  Here are the ten most read posts from 2014. Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.

10   1988/89 English First Division

9     Trip to FC Dallas Game

8     From my Year in Soccer 1974 Series, Johan Cruyff’s impact at FC Barcelona

7     Memorial Day Weekend in Detroit

6     Lansing Kit Nerd (September 2014)

5     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 1

4     Germany Euro 2000 Away shirt

3     2014/15 Kit Preview

2     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 2

1     Going Hollywood (Soccer Player Look-a-likes)

Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.  Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and don’t forget to visit my podcast or subscribe via iTunes.

Strip Club–Tip Out Edition

As I’ve written before, Euro 2000 was one of my favorite and most memorable soccer tournaments ever.  During a window in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I turned from casual fan into full-on Soccer Nerd.  During those years I was reading, watching, coaching and playing to a level that raised the game to an obsession (an unhealthy one my wife might add) in my life.

One of the disappointments of that tournament was Germany.  The defending European champions had crashed out against Croatia at the 1998 World Cup and began defense of their title with a strong Bayern Munich contingent, a sprinkling of German contributions in the English Premier League and some domestically based stars.

The Germans were drawn in a group with Romania, England and Portugal.  In the opener, Mehmet Scholl pegged back the Romanians with a goal to secure a point (his goal is early in the video).  Next up was England, and Alan Shearer doomed Die Mannschaft to an early exit with a headed goal, marking the first time that England had won a competitive match against Germany since the 1966 World Cup final.

Portugal added insult to injury with a 3-0 demolition via a hat trick from Sérgio Conceição.  The winger nodded in Pauleta’s shot cum cross at the back post before getting laid out by Kahn to open the scoring.  Conceição then danced around Hamann and hit a shot right at the German keeper, which somehow he didn’t save.  Later in the second half, Conceição was released down the right hand channel and thumped his shot home to the far post.

The poor performance of the Germans started a rebuilding process that is paying dividends to this day.  Two years later Germany were in the World Cup Final.  They made the World Cup Semi-Finals in 2006 on home soil and were Runners-Up at Euro 2008.  Another Semi-Final appearance at World Cup 2010 was followed up by Semi-Final defeat by Italy at Euro 2012.  The team is poised for great things at the 2014 World Cup with players hitting their prime and Bayern Munich finding domestic and European success.

As for the jersey itself, I got it in unique circumstances.  The BIGGBY franchisee I worked for had three daughters.  The oldest daughter’s husband was in town on break from military service and was looking for a soccer game.  I hooked him up at a local facility and afterwards he said he had a jersey that he didn’t really wear or want.  So I took the bait.  Turns out it was the Germany away shirt from Euro 2000, which was seen in the game against England.

In my research, I found this information from Picking up the Threads about the color green being used:

The German away kit is traditionally green and white; there is a widespread urban myth that this was a mark of respect that Ireland retained neutrality in WWII, or they played their first post-war friendly against them; however neither of these stories are true (it was in fact Switzerland who West Germany first played a post-war friendly against in 1950).  The colours of the away kit actually reflect the colours found on the flag of the second biggest kingdom of ancient Germany; Hannover and Saxony.

The shirt is a little big and can get a touch heavy during hot conditions, but I love the look.  Adidas incorporated the German flag into the collar, bands on the sleeves and the three stars representing each World Cup victory.  One of the coed teams I played on recently used green as their team color, so I made sure to wear it every once in a while.  I enjoy watching this current German team, so break out the jersey occasionally during International weekends.  For the 2013 Champions League Final, I wore it to the Watch Party as I didn’t support either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.  It’s a nice collector’s item but not a heavy part of the rotation.

Strip Club–Pole Work Edition

I admit I was strangely gutted when Croatia lost to Germany in the quarterfinals of Euro 96 despite knowing almost nothing about them, but when I first saw the Croatia jersey, I was instantly intrigued, because they looked like the Big Boy outfit down the street. So I started following the team and through them found a basketball hero in Toni Kukoc. For this post I racked my brain and checked out the interwebs for more info, including the Croatian National Team Wikipedia entry.

On September 4th, 1994, Croatia kicked off against Estonia and started an amazing four year run in international football. The Blazers qualified for Euro 96 by winning their group, only losing one match and managing a draw and victory against 1994 World Cup Runners-Up Italy. At the Finals, they finished second in their section to Portugal (watch Suker’s goal against Denmark starts at 3:30) and qualified for the knockout stage, where they lost to Germany despite a sick goal by Suker.

Two years on, they took the world by storm as they made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup, which included a 3-0 demolition of Germany, before they fell to two unlikely goals from Lillian Thuram of the host country France. They responded by defeating Holland in the third place game to complete a journey from non-existence to the heights of international competition, with Suker winning the Golden Boot for the tournament (all goals here). However, things didn’t go as well for the next decade as Suker, Boban, Prosinečki and Bilic retired, and the next generation couldn’t match their achievements.

The summer after Euro 96, I was at my local soccer shop and came across the Croatian jersey. I couldn’t believe it. I immediately took the shirt up to the counter and swiped my credit card. The jersey is one of the few I have that is made by Lotto, but it is lightweight and great to play in.

Of course I get mocked due to the large checked pattern (either something about Big Boy or wearing a picnic blanket) but that’s because people don’t get it.

Croatia continue to produce quality players (Modric, Rakitić, and Srna, with Kovačić as a possible up and comer) and I enjoy watching them. I pull for them in any tournament to do well, due to their ability and killer uniforms, so here’s hoping that they qualify for World Cup 2014 and beyond.

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Special thanks for Kire Football Kits for the graphic reproduction of the kits.