by Matt Shine |
When Muller finally fluked a goal against Chelsea after 83 minutes the stage was set for a tableau of German triumphalism – the mortal dread of Mollers Prussian strut at Wembley in 1996 was in the air. Then Didier Drogba, the finest African footballer to bejewel the English league, rammed home a header of exquisite power and precision to bulge the back of the Munich net and set up the finale.
In the 1966 we thanked a Russian linesman and in Munich it was Dutchman Arjen Robben who melted in the pressure cooker and fired a poor penalty in extra time. Cech was there, and was there again, for a goalkeeping performance of technical perfection in the shoot out.
Cech touched 3 out of the 5 penalties, saved one, and forced Schweinsteiger wide onto the post to give Chelsea their chance for glory. Drogba sent the Bayern keeper sprawling left as the ball went right – and a new name from London, England was on the trophy.
The deed was done and another English club had anointed European football with the privilege of watching the players from this Premier league beat all of Europes best. The great clubs of Spain, Italy Germany all lost to the Blues from west London. The spirit from the battle of Old Trafford in 1970 , of Real Madrid in Athens in 1971, it was in the determination and resistance and pride of a great team of professional footballers all drawn to the home nation of football.
Lampard showed a rare leadership before the game, his spoken memory of defeat, focusing on the desire for victory, to above all win. Him and Ashley Cole didn’t flinch from their penalty destiny - all lessons for the international campaign.
There was no need for Terry to overdo the celebration and it was predictable that Hodgson would find something to say and that the media would find a stupid story – this time their obsession was/is with whether Di Matteo gets work. It seems that senior players at Chelsea know whats what, hence Ryan “do a job” Bertrand getting the starting place he deserved.
England have more winners on board now and a small dedicated squad - with no transfer window – and a manager who won’t upset the newspapers. There are many difficulties ahead, but they are also club champions of Europe.
Where now the doom-mongers and defeatists ?
Winning the Euros in 2012 - COME ON, England.