WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Relax and let Germany do their thing
"I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again. So watch it, drink it in. Germany have been hit for six by Spain, their biggest humbling since 1931 when they had some slightly graver concerns. Not that any of this matters, they'll still reach the final of Euro 2020 next summer."
Disclaimer: we’re not 100% sure that’s a direct quote from last night’s commentary. But it may as well have been.
The problem for anyone celebrating Germany’s downfall is we’ve been here before. In September 2001, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey’s golf putter combined to help England thrash them 5-1 in World Cup qualifying – the Germans’ previous worst competitive defeat. It mattered little. They stuck with boss Rudi Voller, rocked up in Japan and duly swept into the final.
They already have an immediate fix for a defence more open than a restaurant in 2019: Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, who have been inexplicably frozen out by Joachim Low. Professional meddler Mesut Ozil has led the calls for the former’s reinstatement, while a quick search of 'Boateng, Hummels, Muller' into Twitter will tell you everything else you need to know.
Germany are the ultimate tournament team – peaking when it matters. Who cares if they were pumped in the UEFA Nations League when they stride out past the trophy at Wembley next July to contest the Euro 2020 final? It doesn’t matter that they’re in the Group of Death alongside France and Portugal. There is no champion curse on their shoulders. Bar their hiccup at the 2018 World Cup, they have fallen no earlier than the semi-finals in the previous six major tournaments. They will turn it around again.
Keep Joachim Low, sack Joachim Low, the solution is easy: squeeze as many Bayern Munich players, past and present, into the same team as possible and they’ll be fine.
'They need help now'
The family of England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles have fired up the debate on dementia in football, saying “older players have largely been forgotten” and calling for the "scandal to be addressed".
Stiles, the fifth member of the heroic 1966 squad to be diagnosed with dementia, died in October aged 78 after a long battle with the disease and prostate cancer. In 2010, he sold his medals at auction to ensure his family were looked after.
"There is a need for urgent action," read a family statement.
"These older players have largely been forgotten and many are in ill health, like dad. How can it be that these players are left needing help when their own union have tens of millions of pounds available today?
"How can it be that these players are struggling when the Premier League receives £3bn a year? The modern player will never need the help required by the older lads. How can it be right that some of the heroes of 1966 had to sell their medals to provide for the families? These older players are dying like my dad - many don't have medals to sell.
"It is right, of course to seek to identify the cause of dementia in older players but in truth the cause is irrelevant to the older players - whatever the cause, they need help now. I hope dad's death is the catalyst for this scandal to be addressed."
EUROSPORT TWEET AWARD
Just when you're doubting yourself for having Twitter, a twist like this comes along:
ELSEWHERE IN THE CHANNELS
"And we can go live to Turf Moor, where we're asking fans what makes them happy..."
Oh, and look what you've started, Donald.
With advance apologies to our legion of German fans, it's only right:
Youri Djorkaeff played alongside some of the greatest footballers of his generation. Zizou was amazing, he says of Zinedine Zidane. We were teammates for 10 years and we had this chemistry to know exactly where each other was on the pitch, to play one touch, two touch. But the number one was Ronaldo. He was simply ‘Ó Fenómeno’.
Richard Foster of The Guardian fame gets to know a Warm-Up favourite, Mr Youri Djorkaeff.
England face Iceland in the UEFA Nations League in Albani… oh right, it’s still at Wembley. Plus: Poland take on the Netherlands. We’ll have live text commentary of both on eurosport.co.uk, you lucky souls.
Come back tomorrow for Andi Thomas, the greatest writer of our generation ⓘ Official sources have disputed this claim