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Those Germans are just never beaten...

Byline: By Ian Carbis South Wales Echo

Never write off the Germans they always say. So why didn't more of us listen at the start of this tournament?

Jurgen Klinsmann's side were called the worst host nation for 20 years, yet here they are in the semi-finals, with typical efficiency and the fortune and favour that goes with being the home side.

They were also helped by one of the rank bad managerial decisions of the competition. To take Juan Riquelme off with 30 minutes to go was asking for trouble, and it arrived for boss Jose Pekerman in big style.

Another member of the Boot Room thought the Argentine boss was right as the midfielder had contributed little to the game, but at least this boy can change the course of a match and not consolidate.

It's the same with David Beckham. With everyone baying for his substitution against Ecuador he stepped up and scored. Talent will out.

So the most talented side of the 2006 World Cup won't win it. It will be the same as the Dutch in 1974 and 1978, the Swedes in 1994 and, dare I say, Portugal in 1966.

But Germany against Italy should be a fair match up, with the Italians putting the strife at home behind them to move through to the last four.

They've also had some real slices of luck, like the penalty against Australia and last night's 'offside' Luca Toni goal.

Maybe their name IS on the trophy after all.

Then again, never write off the Germans. . .
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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