Germany coach Tina Theune-Meyer adopted some interesting tactics to help steer her side to EURO success.
By Pete Sanderson in Preston
So imagine my delight when - by complete coincidence - I stumbled across their trade secret ahead of their UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2005™ semi-final with Finland. Picture the scene. The sun is beating down on hundreds of autograph hunters outside the players' entrance at Preston's Deepdale stadium and, the German bus pulling up, the photographers scramble into position to get their own version of 'shot of the championship'. Then something peculiar happens: an almighty explosion of noise, which can only be compared with a sonic boom, forces everyone within a Stephanie Jones clearance to dive for cover.
Had UEFA called in Megadeth to headline the pre-match entertainment? Had Concorde returned to the skies for one final fling in honour of Finland's remarkable rise from the international wilderness? Perhaps Finnish forward Laura Kalmari had broken the sound barrier with one of her blistering shots in the warm-up. Sadly, for all the aeronautical and music purists present, the truth was about to be unveiled as the door to the bus swung open to reveal the entire Germany squad tapping their size sixes to the beat of the Status Quo classic, Rockin' All Over the World.
Yes, you read it correctly and you may want to read it again and again. Forget the revolutionary pre-tournament fitness regime and ground-breaking tactical genius of Theune-Meyer. The secret of Germany's extraordinary run over the last ten years has much to do with that school of rock pioneered by the mighty Quo. The look on the faces of the German players as they came off the coach said it all. They had victory burning deep in their eyes and, sure enough, their three-chord manoeuvre did the trick as they raced into a 3-0 lead against the Finns, eventually prevailing 4-1 to secure a place in a fourth successive European final.
With my curiosity now in overdrive, it would have been rude not to ask Germany's midfield libero Britta Carlson about this ingenious tactic. "Tina's music plays a crucial part in our mental preparation for a game," she told uefa.com. "We have a tune for every occasion and every situation and I think it plays an important part in putting the players in the right frame of mind. It's not just the Quo who are used in the CDs she concocts but certainly they do seem to inspire the players before a game."
This from a country that boasts Beethoven. But perhaps, with their wild hair and astonishing durability, there is a touch of the Beethovens about Quo. A quick glance at their record en route to glory and it is easy to see why Germany are partial to such outlandish tactics. In their 13 games they scored 65 goals and conceded just four. Doubtless their incredible victory was music to their ears.