What Does Germany’s Loss to Croatia Mean?

In the first shocking upset of Euro 2008, Croatia stunned Germany 2-1 on Friday. It was exciting and unpredictable, and it may lead to riots in both Germany and Croatia, but what does it really mean? In short, not much.

First things first – Germany is not going to miss the second round. They have already beaten Poland, and they are going to cruise by Austria. That will ensure that  they will finish second. They won’t finish first, but the top two teams from each group make it, so they will be just fine.

What it does mean is that the Germans will play Portugal in the first round. Again, it doesn’t really matter. the two teams were heavily favored to play on June 25 in the second round, so now they will just play six days sooner. It’s not ideal, but the teams were going to have to play at some point, so it doesn’t really matter when it is. It’s not like finishing second costs the Germans home field advantage or anything meaningful. Croatia benefits because they get an easier first opponent (likely the Czech Republic), but the winner of that game will be heavy underdogs against the winner of the other game. In other words, nothing has changed for the Germans – they still have to beat Portugal and another solid but beatable team to make the final.

Should we trust the Germans less now? Not really. The team was shocked, but they didn’t play horribly. More significantly, they are well coached and they are experienced in big tournaments, so they will learn from the mistakes they made, and they won’t make them again. Germany got caught once, but I don’t think they’ll get caught again.

My advice – take whatever opinion you had of the Germans before this disaster and don’t change it. ALl this loss will do is provide a little more value on their lines in the next game or two.

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