The 2014 Soccer World Championship. Prelims. Germany vs. Algeria. It’s a nerve wracking game, but in the end Germany wins 2:1. It was a tough game for the German team, but in the end they prevailed. Grounds to celebrate, one would think.
Boris Büchler, however, the ZDF television reporter who interviewed center back Per Mertesacker directly after the game, saw things differently. After a short “congratulations” he went straight to his criticisms: “What made the German players so sluggish and vulnerable?”
Mertesacker, already slightly annoyed, emphatically stated that the victory is all that matters: “I don’t give a ****. We’re in the final eight and that’s what counts.”
But Büchler won’t back down: “But this cannot possibly be the level of playing at which you expected to enter the quarter-final? I think the need for improvement must be clear to you as well.”
Mertesacker can no longer keep his cool: “What do you want from me? What do you want, right now, immediately after the game? I don’t understand.” But Büchler stays firm, and repeats his criticism: “Firstly, I congratulate you, and then I wanted to ask why the defensive plays and turnovers did not go as well as one would have liked. That’s all.”
Mertesacker: “Do you think think there is a carnival-troupe (meaning a bunch of clowns) amongst the final 16 teams or something? They made it really hard for us for 120 minutes, and we fought until the very end to prove ourselves. It was a real back-and forth Of course we allowed a lot from them. But in the end our victory was well deserved…”
Mertesacker once again emphasizes how the German team won, in spite of his concession that not everything went as one might have hoped.
But not even this was enough for Büchler: “An absolute show of strength. A high-power performance. Do you think that we will see the same sort of wow-effects again that we saw in the 2010 World Championship, so that the team’s game will improve?”
Mertesacker: “What do you want? Do you want a successful World Championship, or should we just step down and call it a game already? I just don’t understand all of these questions.”
Germany won 2:1. But there will always be something left to criticize. In this case: Just because you won does not mean that you played the game well.