Ritz Carlton tennis coach Thomas Neuert is feeling good about Germany’s World Cup chances as he follows his national team in the “traveling carnival” of fans that has taken over Brazil.
Neuert traveled from Cayman last week and is in Brazil with his brother Andreas. They watched Germany thrash Portugal, 4-0, in Salvador on Monday and traveled to Fortaleza on Thursday with high hopes for their team’s next match against Ghana on June 21.
But Neuert sounds a note of caution about any over-confidence creeping into the German camp. After the brilliant start from Germany in the tournament, neutralizing one of the world’s best players in Cristiano Ronaldo, many people – even Brazilians there – are predicting Germany as the World Cup champion. Not so fast, says Neuert.
“I remember at the last World Cup, Germany was supposedly the favorite after beating England and Argentina, but then lost in the semis to Spain with a terrible performance,” Neuert said. “Things can change quickly in football, plus not always the better team wins.
“I think the game against Ghana will be a tough battle till the end with Germany pulling out a 1-0 win in a last minute goal by ‘joker’ Miroslav Klose.”
Neuert said the atmosphere in Brazil was incredible with fans from multiple nations mixing happily.
“When we arrived in Salvador, we still had a lot of Holland and Spain supporters here from their match a day earlier. Now the fan base changed to more Swiss and French, since they are playing their big match. It is kind of like a huge traveling circus, moving from city to city, which is sometimes not so easy since Brazil is so big and you have to fly to almost every host city.”
Thomas, the resident tennis coach at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Seven Mile Beach, will be in Brazil until July 10, but will extend his stay if Germany reach the final.
After Ghana on Saturday, he heads to Recife for Germany’s second round game and then on to Porto Alegre for the second round. He also has tickets for the quarterfinal game in Brasilia.
A host of group games are on this weekend. On June 20, Italy face Costa Rica at 11 a.m. Cayman time before Switzerland battle France at 2 p.m. and Honduras challenge Ecuador at 5 p.m. On June 21, Argentina fight Iran at 11 a.m., Germany square off with Ghana at 2 p.m. and Nigeria contend with Bosnia-Herzegovina at 5 p.m. On June 22, Belgium face Russia at 11 a.m., South Korea tackle Algeria at 2 p.m. and the United States play Portugal at 5 p.m.