Bastian Schweinsteiger has not only taken over the key role of Michael Ballack in Germany's midfield and is getting better with each passing match, but the Bayern Munich star has also grown in stature as a person whose words are listened to nowadays. The days of the young, playful Schweini seem to be gone and one best realises that when he talks not mincing his words and being straight to the point.
Schweinsteiger was yesterday one of the two players who came for the daily press briefing of the German national team at their Velmore Hotel camp outside Erasmia. And when asked about the teams opponents Argentina he said the team had not forgotten what had happened after the penalty shootout exactly four years ago at the 2006 FIFA World Cup at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on June 30. Germany had won in a tense penalty shootout, but the Argentinians weren't willing to accept the defeat peacefully so it resulted in a fracas on the field with players and officials from both sides involved. Germany were had hit as midfielder Thorsten Frings was banned from the semifinals against Italy and he was sorely missed on that day.
Schweinsteiger said, "The shootout is still in our memory but what really weighs heavily on our minds is what happened after that match. We have to remain calm and not get provoked and I hope the referee will be very alert."
Schweinsteiger then reminded the international media present on what had happened only last Sunday, "You could see their behaviour at half time of the game against Mexico. When you look at their body language and gesticulation, the way they try to influence the referees, they have no respect. It's their mentality and character, we'll have to adjust."
And one has to add that surprisingly not one player or official from both sides was cautioned by referee Roberto Rosetti after the chaos was sorted, while on other occasions players and officials had been banned and fined. This was a point that Schweinsteiger wanted to get across in his statements and he surely has touched a nerve with referee's already in for a lot of criticism due to their mistakes plus sometimes also not being able to detect play acting and provocations.
Surely tough statements from Schweinsteiger, some might see it as a verbal provocation, but he also wants to warn his younger team mates on what they could expect on Saturday. It sadly isn't all about fair play on and off the field. And Schweinsteiger has past experiences which have made him sceptical on these issues.