James Lawton: Oh, to be Germany at Euro 2012 - envied, admired and even... loved
HOW wonderful to be a football nation that every two years does not arrive at a major tournament as a psychological basket case.
Better still, one that carries down a virtual guarantee that if they do not win they will be seriously competitive. Certainly it will not be so fragile that the players have to be given lodgings in such congenial surroundings that for quite a bit of the time they can forget they are on some of the most serious business of their professional lives while they walk about a city filled with tourists and no one cares that this places them in another country and slightly less than 1,000 miles away from where they are due to play at least two and maybe three pivotal matches in 12 days.
How splendid, also, that your coach does not have to talk up the inspirational powers of a player who missed the first two formative games not because of some unfortunate injury but because in his last competitive match he hacked down from behind an opponent who had done nothing more provocative than win the ball – and one who, incidentally, played his last significant international football eight years ago.