German national soccer squad defender Jerome Boateng made a stunning save in the Euro 2016 match against Ukraine. DW London correspondent Gerhard Elfers thinks the UK needs someone like him - here's why.
I freely admit: my understanding of the finer points of football is limited. My friends think that's an understatement. They regularly say things like: Elfers, you haven't got the foggiest idea about football, so shut up, will you? I was once sent away from the table during a Germany match in the 2002 World Cup. My friend Jens seriously thought that my hapless but enthusiastic comments would jinx the German game. It does hurt sometimes.
My rather narrow grasp of the beautiful game doesn't stop me from enjoying an exciting match. I passionately follow the German national team, recently dubbed "Die Mannschaft" in an incredibly irritating marketing stunt. Still, I watch all the matches and cheer for the team, throwing in the odd comment on the action, triggering intense facepalming (my friends) and mild irritation (everyone in earshot).
I tremendously enjoyed watching Germany's first match in the Euro 2016 against Ukraine the other night. Especially the miraculous save of Germany's defender Jerome Boateng warmed my heart.
German keeper Manual Neuer was caught out by a cross in front of the goal, watching rather helplessly as his teammate saved the day - while falling backwards into the goal, Jerome Boateng kicked the ball out again, catching it just a few centimeters before it would have fully crossed the line. It was a fantastic display of grit, skill and character, worthy of a world champion.
Boateng's heroics not only saved Germany from an equalizer. It also spared the defender the embarrassment of an own goal. You see, it was Boateng himself who accidentally deflected Yevgen Konoplyanka's cross towards the German net in the first place, before he so brilliantly corrected his own mistake in the last thinkable moment.
When I look at the latest Brexit poll, with the Out camp extending its lead, I can't help seeing the parallel to David Cameron. The British prime minister did get the Brexit-ball rolling in the first place, promising to hold a referendum on EU membership to pacify the euroskeptics in his party.
In turn, they supported him to become leader of the Conservative party and, ultimately, prime minister. Cameron is a pro-European. He leads the Remain campaign. But he's struggling. It looks like he won't get to the ball in time. I recommend he studies that Boateng save for a while, and then get his act together. Before the Brexit ball crosses the line and Cameron ends up having scored an own goal of epic proportions for his country. Britain needs a Boateng.