He created the miracles of Neanderthal
At the 2002 World Championships, held in Japan and South Korea, the goalkeeper of the German national team, Oliver Kahn, literally worked wonders. Perhaps it was especially vividly shown because the German national team itself, in the general opinion of fans and specialists, was noticeably paler than those great teams of the Federal Republic of Germany that in previous years they became world champions and three times European champions.
Anyway, in the three group tournament games, Kahn missed only one goal. Already in the time added by the arbitrator he scored against the German national team, the Irishman Robbie Keane equalized. In the match of the eighth final against Paraguay, the Germans won with a score of 1: 0. With the same minimum score in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, teams from the USA and South Korea were beaten. In all these matches, Kahn rescued his team many times, saving the gate from seemingly inevitable goals. In the final match against Brazil, the same thing happened at first. In the first half, Kahn kept his goal intact, despite the fact that the Brazilians attacked more dangerously. Twice it seemed that the goal was inevitable, despite all the skills of the German goalkeeper. In the first case, Ronaldo went one on one with Kahn, but hit above the gate. In the second – Kleberson’s powerful blow reflected the crossbar. The German footballers in the attack did little, and the Brazilian goalkeeper, Marcos, had almost no work to do.
The world held its breath in anticipation: did the Germans succeed, in the end, to score the only goal, as in the three previous matches, and it will bring them victory, and with it the title of four-time world champions? Or maybe the score will remain zero, and everything will be decided in a penalty shootout? In the reflection of them, Kahn was known as a first-class master, and for good reason … But the miracle did not happen. At the sixty-seventh minute of the final match, Kahn hit the ball after a strong blow from Rivaldo, but he bounced straight to Ronaldo, who instantly sent him to the gate. Twelve minutes later, Ronaldo managed to score the second goal. After winning 2-0, the Brazil national team became the five-time world champion. However, for the German national team in its similar version, the second place was a remarkable achievement. And the most significant contribution to the success made, of course, goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. He was declared the best goalkeeper of the championship.
In those days in Germany, he became a national hero. Newspapers printed Cana’s portraits so that they could be cut and worn as a mask. The face of the goalkeeper has gained extraordinary popularity. But such popularity had a peculiar taste. Fans of football know that the goalkeeper of the German national team has a very severe, one might even say, fierce face. In addition, his character is not sugar. He is very tough, even brutally playing on the exits, can afford to hit, and even … bite (it happened and that!) The enemy player in the “melee”. However, being dissatisfied with their game, he defies his players to the whole stadium, without being embarrassed in expressions.
Cana’s fierce temper is also manifested outside the football field. He often fell into a variety of scandalous stories related to his family life or troubles with the police because of speeding. It is not surprising that fans, and journalists, too, did not hesitate, more than once called him “gorilla”, “Neanderthal”, “beast”, “bulldog”, “vampire”, and, I must say, it suited his appearance very well. Happened, even the fans of his own Bavaria team threw bananas at him in mockery, shouting offensive comparisons. One day, in order to tease the fans in response, Kan coolly caught one of the bananas, peeled it and defiantly ate it.
However, not really appreciating Kahn for his brutal appearance and not the best moral qualities, football connoisseurs have previously paid tribute to Kahn’s courage and fearlessness as a goalkeeper. And his lightning reaction. And the ability to read the game, instantly anticipating the decisions of the attackers. And after the World Cup and the fantastic game of Kahn, they began to praise him even more as a goalkeeper and much more indulgent about his appearance and character. Meanwhile, from the point of view of psychology, Kahn’s fierce manners and his unsociable nature are, perhaps, quite understandable. Of course, this is a consequence of past children’s grievances. Because of his congenital peculiarity – the jaw strongly advanced and the wrong bite – little Oliver had very bad diction, and often no one understood it. This provoked the ridicule of peers, and Oliver closed in on himself or severely punished offenders.
But it is a physical disability, perhaps, that has developed in him an exceptional diligence. Long special exercises allowed him, finally, to correct diction. And so hardworking he was on the football field. He started playing the goalkeeper at the age of six, for the benefit of his father, Rolf Kahn, was the coach of the Karlsruhe children’s team. In this club, and began the career of adult goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. Until the age of seventeen, he played for the youth team Karlsruhe. At eighteen he was enrolled in the main team and became the understudy of the main goalkeeper Alexander Famulla.