All entries for Saturday 24 June 2006

June 24, 2006

Has Klinsmann been studying Blair?

(c) BBCIs Jurgen Klinsmann trying to do a Tony?

I only ask because Germany seem to be building up their World Cup performances after a disappointing prelude, and look – after today's performance – to be amongst the favourites.

And what do I put it down to?

Tony Blair.

Why? Well, during the 2005 election, Blair won the election partly due to what was termed his 'capitulation' strategy. Essentially, he'd personally take all the blame for the Iraq war while his party could win by pointing at Blair and saying "it's his fault".

(c) Getty ImagesI think Klinsmann has done the same. He's been derided in the German press for living in the United States and spending very little time with his players, but I'm beginning to wonder if this too was a 'capitulation' strategy – designed to lower expectations and lay all blame at the feet of the manager. Meanwhile his players have been given a sympathetic hearing because "it's all Klinsmann's fault", and have been able to concentrate on winning.

Well now of course the team are playing so well (although I think they lack pace up front) that the German fans were chanting Klinsmann's name during their 2–0 victory over Sweden. Can you imagine Eriksson (or any England manager, actually) getting the same reception? Remember Klinsmann was hated two weeks ago!

I think it's all very clever. The talent in the team is clearly there (Ballack and Klose have had terrific seasons), and I think it's possible that Klinsmann's apparent mismanagement of the side may have been a genius piece of PR from the man that brought you four more years of Labour government.

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