It is one of the most famous cartoons in the world.
You know the one. It’s where Charlie Brown lines up behind the (American) football, ready to blast it through the uprights, only to have Lucy pull it away at the last minute, so poor Charlie goes flying through the air and eventually lands on his back.
No matter how times it happens, how optimistic he is, nor how much he prepares, Charlie Brown always lines up for another attempt and always gets the same result.
After almost four years of having the football pulled away at the last minute by Joachim Löw, are Germany fans a bunch of blockheads like Charlie Brown, or is this the time where it all connects — resulting in a perfectly executed field goal?
After the France match, many Germany fans (okay, most) were not even in ol’ Chuck Brown mode — hardly anyone was ready to even line up for that field goal attempt.
Sure, there were some (one of them being me!) who came away optimistic after the France match — but were being told by many others that were just setting ourselves for Jogi to rip that ball away at the last minute again.
And yeah, that still could happen.
Now, after a very good performance against Portugal, Germany fans are back in full Charlie Brown mode. Lining up, ready to run into the kick...and hoping for the best.
To his credit in some odd way — Löw has stuck to his guns (mostly) and after nearly four years of full fallibility, could have things on the right track.
Löw made the difficult decision to start a more effective and efficient Kai Havertz over the more highly-toured and higher maintenance Bayern Munich star Leroy Sane. Löw — finally — also sucked up his pride and recalled Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels.
Löw also has (somehow) found a way to make this 3-4-3 effective after years of futility. One game does not make a tournament a success, but the players actually looked like they knew how to make it work against a good team like Portugal. And yes, it was only one game. Things could still end horrifically.
But...had Jogi given everyone for some — gasp! — optimism?
The answer is a firm...who knows? But that is far more positive that at any other point in the last four years.
Are Germany fans just setting themselves up for yet another time where Jogi pulls the ball away at the last minute? Maybe…but even if he does, it will be the last time fans fall victim to it. After the Euros, Jogi can set up his amateur psychiatry booth and charge us all a nominal fee to hear how he’s damaged us over the last four years.
Until then, however, there is at least a little reason to think that things might finally be on the upswing...and for that, we should appreciate this particular period of time. Instead of using this old Charlie Brown-ism: “I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time,” perhaps we should all try this one: “Keep looking up… that’s the secret of life.”
Now a hungry Hungary team awaits and Löw has the ball firmly in his grasp. Will he keep it set and let us all try and power it through the goalposts or will he yank it away once more?
We only have a few days to find out and until then, we should sleep on this last quote from Charlie Brown: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.”