Read the Germany v Argentina preview.
Update: The ‘Frings punch’ clip has been added – please see the link at the end of this article.
By now everyone has probably either seen or heard or read about the confrontation after the Argentina-Germany World Cup quarter-final between the two sets of players. After watching the video (link at the end) and read reports on the matter, here are some details on what actually happened.
According to Michael Ballack (Chelsea’s summer signing and Germany’s captain): “The first provocation came from Argentina. They were shouting at strikers as they walked up to take the penalties. They were trying to interfere with them.”
“When Tim Borowski scored the winning penalty, he turned around and put his finger over his lips as if to say ‘Shut up.’ That made them mad.”
After Cambiasso’s miss, things got out of hand as unused Argentina sub Leandro Cufre had an argument with German defender Per Mertesacker and, perhaps in response to verbal provocation, kicked Mertesacker. That sparked a melee, with Oliver Bierhoff (now part of the German team setup) stepping on the match (presumably to stop the nonsense), and Argentina’s players taking serious objection to this intervention.
The post-match celebrations turn into a melee
Gabriel Heinze, Manchester United’s celebrated left-back, was at the centre of the melee as he tried to round the growing crowd to argue with Bierhoff. Officials managed to keep him away but if you see the video you can pretty much guess what Heinze was saying to Bierhoff (or you can read The Sun’s version of it). Later on Ayala was also seen telling Bierhoff to get off the pitch as it was not his place to be here, while Frings was not far away from the action either (read the Sun article).
And as you see in the image above, Maxi Rodriguez was part of the entertainment as well, running up and launching a punch at Bastian Shweinsteiger (in the middle) before the Argentina goalkeeper dragged him away. What prompted him to do so is not clear, but my guess is he saw Shweinsteiger in the centre of the melee and totally lost his head.
In the end, Leandro Cufre was red carded by the ref (really, what’s the point?) and Mertesacker was quoted as saying that:
“One of their players attacked me even though I did not do anything. I have three or four red marks on my thigh and then he kicked me again in the groin.”
Torsten Frings weighed in too with the following gems:
“They are bad losers. They lost their minds.”
“It just shows they are bad sports and are badly behaved. I hope their players get suspended.”
Both coaches tried to play down the incident, putting it on emotions running over. This World Cup has been fantastic in atmosphere and to be fair if the Argentina players had not been crying and so pissed off at the end of the match I’d be questioning their commitment. They had the match in their pockets and they lost it. Cambiasso – poor Cambiasso. The man was disconsolate and his tears embodied the emotions of what all Argentina fans must be feeling right now…
“How the fuck did we lose this one?”
What really happened?
I want to know what was said between Mertesacker and Cufre, and what Bierhoff exactly did that led Heinze and Ayala and Sorin and Rodriguez to lose their temper.
A word on Heinze. It would be extremely convenient of me to say that as these actions were carried out in Argentina’s shirt Manchester United’s name should not be brought in (as some Arsenal fans have done in the wake of the France-Spain match – see discussion here), but I see that as an excuse and nothing more. Heinze is a Manchester United player, and as such this sort of behaviour gives us a very bad name. I would prefer to know the full facts before judging him, but seeing him shout at Bierhoff did his image (and United’s) no favours.
Having said that, one should also remember that football is a highly emotional sport. That alone should give us insight into why players sometimes lose their heads, although that’s no excuse.
FIFA have announced that they will be investigating the incident, with Argentina’s players most likely to be implicated. However, we should remember that we get our news primarily from English media and currently all the news points to a slight German bias. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Argentina players were completely at fault, but I’d like to hear both sides before making any judgments.
And now for the video of the incident. I wasn’t able to edit this, so I’m just going to point you to the link where I got it from. Note that this is a clip of the post-match celebrations, starting from Cambiasso’s missed penalty. The commentary is in French, which I understand a bit so I was able to figure out most of the discussion (nothing much to be gleaned from it that hasn’t already been reported, but I will go through it again tomorrow).
The incident happens in the second minute (see 1:10 to 1:50).
The Frings Incident
This happened before the general melee started. Shows Cruz and Frings going at each other. If you have just scrolled down, the video of the melee is the link above.
(All clips are courtesy of the fine folks at the SoccerPulse Forums).
[tags]2006 World Cup, Germany, Argentina, Torsten Frings, Bierhoff, Heinze, Ayala, Cruz[/tags]