Why Are Germans So Sympathetic to Russia?

The German public may not trust Vladimir Putin personally, but they are readily buying the Russian argument that Moscow feels encircled and endangered by the West.

Germany Faces Tough Choices on Russia

Germany’s Russia policy remains above all guided by economics and energy, and the substantial Russia lobby in the German business community is unlikely to be moved by events in Ukraine.

Restoring Trust in Internet Privacy and Data Security

U.S. allies clearly no longer trust the United States and its companies as much as they did before the NSA revelations. Thus, they are taking it upon themselves to seek alternatives and to protect their citizens as they see fit.

Obama’s Berlin Speech Delivered the Right Message

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy made his iconic Berlin speech — with its famous line of “Ich bin ein Berliner” — the parallels to the one delivered by his successor Barack Obama last week are unavoidable.

Youths, Immigrants, and Outsiders are Southern Europe’s Best Hopes

Unemployed youth, immigrants, and societies that are either outside the EU should be at the front of a strategy for Southern Europe’s renaissance. These groups have the motivation to innovate and create new opportunities for growth in the region.

As Spain Protests Austerity, Catalonia Pushes for Independence

As workers from throughout the country converge on Madrid for protests, a second, altogether different movement is gathering strength in Catalonia.

'Merkozy' for president – this time it’s serious

Angela Merkel has ruffled French feathers with a pledge to join Nicolas Sarkozy in his campaign for re-election this spring. Merkozy for president? No thanks, say the French.

Will Gary Lineker's comment be true again?

So it's the Germans. Again. Games against them always throw up the iconic images from the past: 1966 and all that; Gazza's tears in 90; Pizza Hut adverts in 96 (Southgate, Waddle and Pearce - hang your heads in shame); Owen's hat-trick; penalties...


What will be the iconic image after tomorrow? David James scoring a penalty kick? It would be lovely to see him do that and then mimic that arrogant strut Andy Moller did at Wembley in Euro 96.


The Germans seem quite confident ahead of tomorrow. . That would not have been too misplaced after England's first two games. But then North Korea might have fancied facing us after the Algeria game. Their papers have been full of headlines saying things like 'Bring On England' and the like.


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Spain fail to get us on our feet

So are you still watching? It's fair to say that the neutrals (excluding Switzerland for once) wanted Spain not just to win, but to win well. This has been a World Cup that, thus far, has been lacking in world-class play. It comes to something when Germany - efficient, mechanical old Germany - are considered the flair team of the tournament.


The obvious answer is that managers have learnt their lessons from mistakes by their predecessors. Avoiding defeat in their first match has become their priority. As Arsene Wenger put it this week: "In the first round teams play more not to lose than to win. The games are quite locked tactically with very few chances and very few have had a go. The pressure of the World Cup is so intense nobody wants to lose that first game."


Could this be another sign getting older is not so bad after all?

Up until last night I was convinced it would be easy to make you laugh at the extent of my ignorance. I'm a shameless football ignoramus.  Last time I watched a game was with my step father, as a teenager, centuries ago. Just looking at people running on a football field made me feel tired --as if I had been the one painfully dragging myself from one end to the other. And so for years, I lived happily without knowing anything about football --not even as much as very basic terms.

But I am disappointing myself.