One of the biggest discussions going into Thursday’s match between Germany and USA revolves around both teams making a gentlemen’s agreement to play for a draw. Such a move would benefit both teams, with Germany clinching the Group G title and the Americans advancing to the knockout stage. Moreover, both teams could use the rest after a bruising round of group play games. So if you’re thinking of doing some betting on USA vs Germany, a tie might be a good option, right? Especially since the head coaches, Jurgen Klinsmann and Joachim Loew (pictured left and right), are friends, correct?
Don’t count on it! Comments on both sides indicate that this match will be just as intense as any other that we’ve seen so far in the 2014 World Cup. Klinsmann even seems to think that his underdog US team has a chance at toppling the giants from Germany. “Both teams go into this game and want to win the group,” Klinsmann said. “We want to go at Germany and get three points and be in the drivers seat for the round of 16. I am sure we will see in four days a very exciting match in Recife. I think coming now is a lot of respect from our opponents.”
The German-born coach also recalled how his team never stopped playing hard in CONCACAF qualifiers, despite sewing up first place in CONCACAF before their final match against Panama. “The US is known to give all they have in every single game – otherwise Mexico wouldn’t be here,” Klinsmann said in regard to defeating Panama so that Mexico still had a shot at making the Cup.
German players don’t seem very keen on a tie or giving a half effort either. After all, first place in Group G is on the line in this match, and both teams could still possibly be eliminated altogether, though it’s very unlikely for Germany. Defender Per Mertesacker made a point of bringing this up to the media. “It’s kind of a knockout game for both teams,” said Mertesacker. “Obviously, after today, we’re looking forward to that game. We want to make less mistakes and show our whole potential.”
Showing their potential will be a huge motivator for Germany since they were surprised by an athletic Ghana team during a 2-2 draw. Even still, many people are convinced that the USA vs Germany match is headed for a draw thanks to history.
The soccer world has a term for two teams lollygagging through a match so that they can produce a result that’s beneficial to both – Biscotto. This word means “cookie” or “biscuit” in Italian, but it also refers to a couple of teams working together to produce a desired result.
The oft-cited Biscotto example in the case of USA and Germany is a 1982 World Cup match between West Germany and Austria. The latter had already qualified for the knockout round while West Germany needed a victory by one goal to advance. So the Germans went up by one goal and both sides soft-played from then on out – eliminating Algeria and Chile in the process.
Denmark and Sweden also did the same thing to eliminate Italy at Euro 2004. They played to a 2-2 draw, which pushed both of them on to the knockout round while sending the Italians home on goal differential. So the concept of a Biscotto is definitely not made up in the soccer world.
Not Always planned
Of course, Klinsmann continues to dismiss any notion of coming to such an agreement with his friend and former assistant coach Loew. But it is worth mentioning that Biscottos don’t always arise from a prearranged deal. Sometimes teams will get deep into a match while tied, then start slowing the game down and/or playing softer to avoid injuries and further fatigue.
But until that happens, count on both Germany and USA playing as hard as they can in their final match of group play. Both sides have a lot on the line and will be looking to further prove themselves to the world by winning this much-hyped game.