Thursday 27 March 2008

A Few Random Thoughts on Yesterday's Football Matches

Kobi Kuhn

This man is not smiling today. He was not smiling yesterday evening - so who is he. His name is Kobi Kuhn and he is the trainer of the Swiss National Football team. For those not knowing what football is, it is also known as soccer and is a sport that can make people happy, sad, aggressive and revengeful. At the moment Switzerland (and Austria) are preparing their football scenery for the invasion of European football fans that will arrive when the EU 2008 starts. The preparations have already begun for the footballers, they are having practice matches with other countries to see how good they are.

Switzerland did not have to prove how good they might be this time as they are a host land and are qualified in any case. If the match we saw yesterday evening is an example of how good they are, then I do not think they will survive the first round. Switzerland were playing Germany. It is a fact that Germany are a good team (even if Gomez, one of their best is of Spanish origin) but I did not expect a 4:0 win for Germany. I mean the Swiss could have perhaps managed somehow to score one little goal. Actually they did. The face of Alex Frei lit up like a candle when he scored, but the light was very quickly extinguished when the goal was disallowed as being offside. There is not much more to say about the match. I watched once again the goals this evening on the tv news (it made big headlines in Switzerland) and it seemed to me that the Germans just had to walk towards the posts, kick the ball and it landed over the line. The Swiss were just watching to see what might happen. The trainer was interviewed afterwards, but I think he was a bit depressed. He said he could make no excuses for the way the Swiss played or the mistakes they made. So football fans all over Europe, don't worry about the Swiss threat - it does not exist. I must admit after living 2/3rds of my life in Switzerland, I do feel Swiss and would like to see them achieve something in the way of football.

Of course it was a funny football evening. My Italian friends in the office were very sad being beaten by Spain, especially as the girls in the office are a majority Italian and cannot wait until their Panini albums can be bought. I remember the last WM. There were cards being exchanged all over the office. Some of the fans still have photos of the Italian team hanging on their partitions at work. I am the only one in the office with the West Ham United screen saver. That can also be a dangerous habit - one of the men said today "What West Ham? - they are all hooligans". I didn't bother to explain the definition of hooligan. I think for most of the Swiss the English are qualified as hooligans as soon as they arrive at the ground. No fear this year - unfortunately England did not qualify. They also got beaten yesterday by France - I hear that David Beckham was not very happy. I hope his spice girl got over the disappointment. Actually I do have a soft spot for Beckham, after all he was born in Leytonstone, just round the corner to Bethnal Green where I grew up. Never did understand why he signed for Manchester United.

So that was a few random thoughts from an exiled football fan in Switzerland. One thing is sure, the Swiss can only get better - I hope. And just to give them credit here is a photo of one of the Swiss National team


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