Stuart Dye is a reporter and editor for the Herald on Sunday

Stuart Dye: German imposters a breath of fresh air

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Who is this German team? What have they done with the Germans?

A nation which has throttled the life out of tournament after tournament is suddenly producing unpredictable, exciting football matches.

They ran riot against Australia, banging in four goals for fun. More than that, there were step-overs and dummies and silky one-touch passing. It was, at times, wonderful to watch.

Then in their second game they lost to Serbia. They had a man sent off and missed a penalty. Germany missing a penalty is all but unheard of.

Germany is one of the World Cup's most successful sides, with three trophies behind only Brazil and Italy. They have lost the final four times and been in the semifinals 11 times - more than any other country.

The Germans have qualified for every tournament they have entered and reached at least the quarter finals in the last 14 competitions.

But they have often been criticised of dull, boring football; a team that will progress through the tournament by stifling the creativity of others with a defensive formation and by snatching a goal at the other end.

As with any reputation, it is probably a little unfair and the Germans have certainly been involved in some thrilling games.

But with this reputation there is no smoke without fire.

Not in 2010.

Where is the organised, strong, efficient Germany of World Cups past? Who are these imposters?

Who cares? They're much more fun to watch.

They face Ghana on Thursday morning (NZT) and must win to be sure of a place in the second round. Putting aside New Zealand's games, it's become the first unmissable match of the tournament.

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Stuart Dye is a reporter and editor for the Herald on Sunday

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