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German's rich pedigree casts large shadow

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David Bond | 17:07 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

World Cup: 2010
At the German training camp near Pretoria

Sunday's classic contest between England and Germany is not only a battle to decide who reaches the quarter-finals of this World Cup. The game in Bloemfontein also presents an opportunity to assess the ideological and cultural differences between these two great footballing rivals.

Ever since England's heartbreaking semi-final defeat by West Germany in Italy in 1990, English football has undergone a commercial revolution which has made the Premier League the richest in the world.

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On the plus side, that financial success, created by the breakaway of the Premier League in 1992, has helped finance a vast improvement in the nation's stadiums, more entertaining football and allowed English clubs to become the most consistently successful in the Champions League over the last decade.

This has been thanks, in no small part, to relaxed ownership regulations that allowed new billionaire owners to buy clubs and then splash out eye-watering sums to pay foreign stars massive salaries.

But, at the same time, the English national team has gone backwards. Despite the Football Association enjoying its own substantial growth in revenues on the back of the game's television rights boom, it seems money has had a negative impact on the health of the English team.

The Germans, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength. Although they have not won the World Cup since 1990, their rich tournament pedigree speaks volumes. They also won the 2008 Under-19 European Championships and the 2010 Under- 21 European Championships, although it is worth adding that England's Under-17 team have just won the European title.

The Bundesliga is still one of the wealthiest leagues in Europe, but it makes £500m a year less than the Premier League. Despite that, it invests £20m more in its youth academy system and its 18 clubs in 2009 made an operating profit of £146m - £66m more than the combined operating profits of the 20 Premier League clubs.

The Bundesliga's approach to financial regulation and ownership is much stricter than its English rival. While the Premier League is only now tightening its rules in the wake of Portsmouth's financial collapse, German clubs operate on the 50+1 principle - no single person or entity can own more than 49% as 51% of each club must be owned by its members.

Also, while debt levels have exploded in the English game with a combination of bank debt and so-called 'soft loans' from owners and directors contributing to a staggering total of £3.3bn according to Deloitte, German clubs owe just £30m. It must be stated here that most German clubs do not own their grounds and therefore do not have assets to borrow against (and some clubs would like these tough rules relaxed) but the difference in debt levels is striking.

The key word is sustainability and while the Premier League is just starting to understand why this is important, English football is many years behind Germany.

All very interesting, but why should the German model have any bearing on the strength of the German national team?

Answer: Because it demonstrates that the Deutscher Fussball Bund (DFB) has a far firmer control of the way the game is run than England's own FA, which long ago ceded financial control of the game to the Premier League.

A far healthier balance of power exists between the Bundesliga and the DFB, allowing them to put the wider interests of the game first - and ultimately every four years that means the German World Cup squad.

For example, German clubs must pick 12 home-grown players in their matchday squads, whereas the Premier League conforms to Uefa's rule of eight out of a 25-man squad - and even then that can mean including foreign nationals as long as they have trained for three years at a Premier League club's academy.

The German academy system educates 5,000 players between the age of 12 and 18. As a consequence, the number of German under-23-year-olds playing regularly in the Bundesliga is 15% - up from 6% a decade ago.

This is reflected in the youthful make-up of the German team here in South Africa. This is the youngest team (average age 25) they have sent to a World Cup since 1934. England by way of contrast have sent their oldest in history (28).

I asked Wolfgang Niersbach, the general secretary of the DFB, why it was that the Germany was so consistent at major tournaments.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say the German national team always comes first because during the club season the Bundesliga must come first," he said. "But what I would say is the relationship between the DFB and the League is very close and we work together. Sure, there are discussions, but in the end we always make sure the right decisions are made for the German team."

This includes a winter break - something former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson fought for during his time in charge but which was ultimately rejected due to the crammed domestic season in England. German legend Franz Beckenbauer suggested on Thursday that the lack of the break was one of the reasons why England looked "burned out" here.

Many of these structural and ideological differences may count for nothing once the two teams take to the pitch on Sunday afternoon. But should Germany triumph, they will undoubtedly form part of the inquest which follows.


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  • Comment number 1.

    ...cultural differences between these two great footballing rivals.

    Thank you David for your professionalism, by mentioning "rivals" instead of the common words used such as...

    People forget that Germans too, read the BBC and are often offended with ignorant remarks. This evidently applies to some and not all.

    Back to the football, I'm hoping for a good clean game.

    May the best man win.

  • Comment number 2.

    So what are the English waiting for to reform their set-up for the benefit of the national team. The way things are going soon there is going to be no decent English players to choose from.

  • Comment number 3.

    Very insightful blog, showing that the playing field isn't level between England and Germany in terms of fitness at the end of a season. But I tend to agree with Klinsmann that their attitude is even more important. Germans enjoy the big match tension, their word for tension and excitement is the same - Spannung. Not forgetting that a record of success in tournaments breeds confidence about the next one. What was it Clint Dempsey said after the USA game? "I could see in their eyes that they were playing with fear.
    Capello's job is to use the Slovenia game's positives to overcome that fear and replace it with a "we'll ****** well show 'em" attitude.

    It would also help if Germany retained Mertesacker for Sunday's game. If Boateng's calf doesn't heal, then a back four of Lahm - Mertesacker - Friedrichs - Badstuber/Jansen looks quite inviting. But Lahm - Badstuber - Friedrichs - Jansen is much tougher. Badstuber neutralised Rooney from CB in the Champions League, but he's too slow at right-back to deal with Milner's short sprints.

  • Comment number 4.

    We obviously need to sort out our system but there is one huge overriding factor ... MONEY. People at the top are spending big money and making big money. Lower down those people want a chance to make big money. Any talk of a better fairer system in the name of national pride for the odd world cup or european cup would be shot down in flames.

    More likely we will eventually, in the future, be represented by a team consisting of those players that play in the respective countries leagues and the big scramble for money can continue.

  • Comment number 5.


    My word !

    David, congrats on a knowledgeable an fair description.

    Let's hope for a match without injuries, without
    red cards, with good refereeing - and with lots of temperament and skill.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done, David! Good blog.

  • Comment number 7.

    You make some excellent points in your blog, David.
    I’m looking forward to an exciting action packed game. I hope England continue their improved form and show the watching world that we are more than a ‘kick and rush’ team.
    If Germany outplays us then good luck to them. No bad feelings in spite of the mind games being played by Franz Beckenbauer, although I understand he has apologised this evening so fair enough and good on him.

  • Comment number 8.

    Fans matter in German football, the authorities know it and so do the clubs. This is so different from the greed, debt and rampant commercialism in the English Premier League. There is so much we can learn from the way the game is run in Germany.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting insight into the structure of German football David, in particular regarding their investment in the academies and apparent recognition by the Bundesliga of the importance of the national team, and their willingness to help the DFB build the best national team possible.

    Not too sure our national team has gone backwards. It seems just the same as it's always been to me. I suspect you're referring to our reaching the SFs in 1990, which while a commendable feat, wasn't achieved with much if any more mouthwatering football than the current team is providing.

  • Comment number 11.


    my word, you've hit the nail on the head. the anglo-saxon model of work and business has pervaded every aspect of british life, including football. I agree with every word you've said: the german model, be it business or football, puts heavy emphasis on societal value. mercedes benz tried to be anglo-saxon model and ended up nearly paying the ultimate price. bayern münchen tried the EPL model by stuffing their squad with foreigners and they nearly disappeared off the european map. today one can see 4 first team players from bayern in the national team, all of them coming through the youth system: young guns Badstuber and Müller, and the truly world class Schweinsteiger and Lahm. And they're all Bavarians to boot :)

  • Comment number 12.

    The Germans have many of the same traits as the English or perhaps vice versa , and indeed there is a respect between the educated of the two nations.
    When it comes to football it is an unfortunate fact that intelligence is the first casualty and our gutter media try to rake up every sick pun and insult they can and it makes us as a nation look like second class idiots. A hearty round of thanks for the media for that then!!!
    Thankfully the teams treat each other with the respect of equals and will both be cautious and circumspect. It will be a contest where the English hope that past defeats at crucial times are put behind them and I am sure it will be an enthralling game. Germany will look for inspiration from a young team and hope that they will progress.
    At the end of the day its just a game of football. Perhaps better if we tried to win the game of economic success instead!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Nice blog - interesting.

  • Comment number 14.


    Spot on and thank you!

  • Comment number 15.

    ha ha ha laughing hard at rjaggar. how can anyone possibly agree with that drivel. really, the Scots and Russians and whoever else are out to ruin the English game. ha ha ha.

  • Comment number 16.

    Two really good blogs in a row, David! Like I said last time, please please please stick to this sort of topic!

  • Comment number 17.

    Good blog Dave, much improved and very interesting. It is strange though since (as muhc as many of us don't like to admit us) we are of course all really Germans, yet their league is more efficiently run and although it lacks (so called) 'stars' such as Rooney I myself find it more entertaining and happen to follow Bayern as a sort of second team after SUFC.

  • Comment number 18.

    Very good strategic points made in both the blog and the comments. David Bond, I feel as if you have been flagging this issue, hinting at 'deeper problems', in your recent blogs, and you've made a very clear case here. There is so much to chew on in this subject, and I'm delighted to see it raised in a level headed way.

    You rebel, you!

  • Comment number 19.

    Rjagger - FANTASTIC

    Europe is not angelic but having visited Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy in the last few years, you know the worst bit ?

    Returning to this country where the "me,me,me" society is all pervading.

    We are the most pompous, arrogant nation on this earth, just one more example, I am able to communicate in French and German,not brilliant but I can hold a reasonable conversation. How many of our brethren bother to learn even a little basic foreign language ?

    Our national game, where "I almost crashed the car when they were only offering me £55000" is symptomatic of the mantra to be worshipped in this country.

    Germany has gone to this World cup with one of the youngest squads in the last 80 years (6 of them were in the U21 side last year that humiliated our U21's 4-0). Watching them against Ghana, there was a bit of niavety in defence which suggests England could win but frankly I will be supporting the Germans as they at least still seem to have a nation to be proud of, socially and sporting wise.

  • Comment number 20.

    Does anyone know which team is changing colours for this one?

  • Comment number 21.

    Some good points but mostly jibber-jabber. Unfortunately you represent what is really ruining the country, the self- deprecating british mindset to rubbish everything in sight... Things really aren't that bad. Firstly, your comment on the consistency of our sporting men and women is absolutely incorrect: I seem to remember our recent success in the t20 world cup. Andy Murray reaching the final of the Australian Open... We came third or fourth in the last summer Olympics, not too shabby. Our golfers are doing well at the minute. We even won the U17 european championships and came runners up at U21 level of the same competition. What other sports would you like to see us challenge for? Handball, Basketball.

    I agree Wembley was a massive sham, the stadiums in SA have proven that - the durban stadium (A delightful hybrid of the Wembley arch and the Munich Olympic stadium's cut-out is my favourite and cost1/4 of the price of Wembley!!!) .

    Your assertions about the work-place are wildly generalised, where do you work???
    I'm not sure where your rant on spies came from but it's link to the success of the English National team is tenuous indeed... Thanks for your interesting angle though.

    I think the real reason for our lack of success at international tournaments is much closer to what playunextyear talks about and lack of a proper break for premier league players. No one from the EPL has performed very well. They all looked "burnt out".

  • Comment number 22.

    Firstly lets not say that Germany are going to beat England on Sunday, because they might just loose.

    However, yes - Germany has been head and heals over England, in turns of the records. Getting to Finals and Semi-Finals whilst we bow out at the quaters at best.

    Franz B has spoken a load of rubbish during this world cup however he is right to bring to attention the strains of the premiership.

    Might it be right to have the break in the middle of season which Alex Fergusson supports?

    Also, we need to consider the following things:

    A) A minimum of 5 English players on the field.

    B) Dropping premiership clubs out of the "League Cup" even though it is often used to test the B team.

    C) Starting the entry into the FA Cup for premiership teams one round later.

    Also, another problem is obese kids which is obvious reducing the percentage of kids that can be trained as professional footballers. We need to get the health of kids in order.

    And also, my big idea as the inventors of the game, is to have a mini-competition on a non-Euro/WC year where we can get practice against some of the biggest team.

  • Comment number 23.

    Appreciate the input re the respective differences between the nation teams and their football leagues, but when it comes down to it it is ninety minutes on a field and the team that is best prepared and rises to the occasion will win.
    I think a measure of national pride is in ordnung here.
    Perhaps it has been shown that the highest paid players e.g the French English and Italians ( notable absentees Spanish and Germans) have the least enthusiasm playing for their country. It is the clubs that pay them......

  • Comment number 24.

    19. At 8:45pm on 25 Jun 2010, John wrote:

    We are the most pompous, arrogant nation on this earth, just one more example, I am able to communicate in French and German,not brilliant but I can hold a reasonable conversation. How many of our brethren bother to learn even a little basic foreign language ?

    Well bully for you ... what do you want a biscuit? Lo siento Una galleta quieres?

    If you don't like the country and the people you know where the door is!

  • Comment number 25.

    Their is no evidence of a causal link between the lack of English players in the EPL, and the poor performance of the national team over the liftime of the EPL. What did England acheive before the EPL? One semi in 1990, and 1966 which is so long ago and the game was so different then (slow and uncompetitive beyond belief - just watch the footage of the '66 final) it's irrelevant. One semi in the modern (i.e. circa post 1975) before the EPL is hardly a succcess story. Yes, we have been poor at WCs and Euros since the inception of the EPL - but we were poor beforehand as well. I'd love to see many more English players in the EPL, and young lads coming through the academies - that's the way it should be. But there is no evidence at all, that would lead to any better results at WCs. We've always been relatively poor at international level.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm annoyed about BBC's politisized approach to this World Cup. How would we feel about other countries covering the 2012 London Olympics with stories about, for example, child poverty or gun crime in Shadwell. There's a time and a place for social conscience, maybe it's Newsnight, not World Cup 2010? Why not send Alan Shearer into townships near Gateshead?

  • Comment number 27.

    It is strange though since (as muhc as many of us don't like to admit us) we are of course all really Germans
    You mean you all live in Germany? Isn't it a bit crowded?

  • Comment number 28.

    The Germans have many of the same traits as the English or perhaps vice versa , and indeed there is a respect between the educated of the two nations.
    Well you are not two different species are you?

    Interesting slant on things yes

  • Comment number 29.


    i agree with playunextyear. As an irishman with plenty of access to the UK and one who has studied German and is living in Germany, the greatest difference for me between the two sides is their attitudes, which for me is a result of the different mindsets surrounding the two national teams in the two countries.

    Both countries are football-mad, both have huge amounts playing the game, and both have reasonably similar football styles. But England have this attitude of "we are the home of football, we invented it, we are great" which from my perspective has a negative impact on how they play as a team, because they are always under a huge weight of expectation. This leads them to play badly.

    Let's be clear, England have achieved nigh-on nothing internationally. They have won the world cup once, in 66, which KEEPS on getting mentioned. I mean, big deal. If you consider yourself a great football nation, then one tournament 40 years ago should not mean that much. But the achievements of England, the results, are not that of a top football nation. How many finals? One? How many semis? Achievement-wise, they are nobodies in world football, at least in comparision with the big guys, with whom England compare themselves to. They think they have a status above which they really deserve, results-wise and so in my eyes the weight of expectation, this hang-up about being so great and being 'the home of football' etc, that this brings about has a bad effect on the players mentality on the pitch, and ultimately how they play. They are not free to achieve and go for it, but are restricted by notions of self-worth.

    Look at Germany. I have no pre-disposition for or against Germany, England or whoever, but you cannot argue with Germany's stats. 3 Euro's, 3 world cups, and that's not to mention the numerous semi and final appearances. Sure in 1982 and 1986 they got to the world cup final, and again in 2002, with a pretty poor team, and that's just a throw away example, the list would go on. There is just no comparison, international football-wise, between the two countries. None. Yet I get the impression that England think they are on the same level as Germany. The same could be said of other sides who have done things on an international level - Italy, Brasil, Argentina..even France have done more. But England think that they are great, and this has a negative effect.

    Let me go back to my original point about the attitude. It seems to me that whenever Germany go onto the pitch, irrespective of how poor their players are, they play with a positive attitude. They give it a go. They play with industry and initiative. They are not bound by these ideas of their own superiority or greatness, and so are more in a place where they can just go out and go for it. I will never forget 2002. I had actually been in Germany that April on a student exchange, and listened to different Germans tell me how awful their team was, and how they were going to do nothing at the world cup. And then it happened. With an utterly ordinary team, they reached the final. I remember watching them. They played with so much industry and initiative. Many English teams have been better than that German one, yet never even came close to the semi's, let alone final.

    To end, the English have an arrogant attitude about their own football status because they see themselves as the 'home of football'. You see it in the attempts to get the world cup brought to England, where people in the orgainsing committee have to be told that the competetion should be attractive and not focus on being in England because they just deserve it. Simply stupid arrogant rubbiish, but a sign of the attitudes found in England. It is precisely these attitudes that is the problem for me, because it doesnt represent what they have done on the pitch, and it holds them back from further achievement, being too expectant and demanding. If England were freer and and went for it without fear of an entire nation jumping on individual players backs for making unforced errors, then they would have more of a chance of achieving their potential. Look at Germany.

  • Comment number 30.

    Great blog. Some sensible football talks going in here. I remember how some funny blogs used to have so many commenters and they'd sale quite good. There are less commenters here but at least the talks are more sensitive on football issues and do create an environment to express some rebel,as well as neutral views. And i'm not slating those blogs but sometimes they went too far from the purpose they were written.
    Staying in the topic,i can say that despite being a global metropolis england haven't been able to use its diversity for the purpose of development. And also that diversity is harming the english-way of social values,culture,economy and sports.
    Germany and france have been able to bring in players from that group of diverse belongings but not england even when they are more of a haven for immigrants.I hope its a small issue.
    I don't really see any english clubs playing the english style these days bar the hammers. The problem with them last season was too many foreigners playing english style and played so by foreign coach. United and liverpool play direct football but they rely more on wingers which is though a part of english football not the core. Arsenal and chelsea have gone too far away from it one on right and another the left. We cry for english-style football,but there isn't anything like that today.I'm not saying that it didn't exist.
    Not only players production,we have too little of english managers and only few have succeeded in european level and almost none in the global level. As for example look at italy. Their player production rate for national team may have reduced but their managers are top class and have succeeded in global level too.

    Its funny that chelsea's sale have excelled russian football,americans are excited about united and liverpool and gaining more of an attention about football,arabians are developing their football values on the pedestal of their ownership of football clubs in the UK,etc etc. England spoiling her own child,football.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm pushing 40 and played footie from birth through school to about 16 (when my parents felt it was time to follow a real career-plan and get into A-levels and Uni)but the way some of the football games are decided these days leaves only shame to the game. Hope there is no dodgy penalties/red cards/ and hopefully NOT that ref that sent Klose out who had booked 6 players within 15 minutes. The Germans have always reached the quarters since 1938 and I hope this game does not come with weird penalty kick excuses that 3 lions fans are now used to but will be decided on good old kick about.

    I pray for a good clean game and may England win, I mean the best team, I mean may the best team win!

  • Comment number 32.

    Wow... a member of the English press being fair-minded in discussing Germans... amazing. Are you quite sure you're English, and not, say Welsh or NIrish or Scottish?

    It's funny how England thinks of Germany as its great rival and, even more, thinks that Germany thinks of England as a rival. To Germany, England is that annoying little (and now nouveau riche) boy who keeps wanting to play with the big boys. Germany's big football rivalry is with the Oranje, not the three lion cubs.

    I wonder how long it'll take for English football's financial bubble to burst. Liverpool is tomorrow's Leeds, and other clubs are going to suffer as well.

    I had known that German football was healthy financially, but I hadnt known about the regulations that encourage Bundesliga clubs to encourage German - esp young German - footballers. That's great - it explains a lot about the German World Cup squad. But how did they manage to implement such rules without interfering with EU regulations?

    I hope Germany wins on Sunday - unlike England, they actually deserve it. Besides, their octopus says so...

  • Comment number 33.

    Why do some people think the English are Germans?

    The Germans are in fact English.

    So are the Americans.

  • Comment number 34.

    I am not sure where this idea that English football fans are arrogant in thinking England are better than they are. I go to a fair amount of England games and it's as more a mood of general pessimism and happy hope.

    I think football fans in England are pretty negative. When football fans outside of England are pretty negative about English football as well, it makes me smile.

    Everything about English football is given a negative slant...."too much debt, our children are too obeses (that one did make me smile!), too many foreigners playing in the EPL, The EPL is falling behind La Liga, the Bundesliga administration puts the EPL/FA to shame.

    All doom and pessimism. The English way.

    Come on England!! Win or Lose come Sunday I will be England way after you come home!! :-)

  • Comment number 35.

    "German's rich pedigree casts large shadow" - which particular German are you talking about? Or perhaps you mean Germans' (plural).

    Nitpicking aside, that was an interesting blog. I've just been reading some German websites and, in spite of what some people above may think, our friends in Germany definitely regard us as serious rivals and indeed a threat to their progress in the competition.

    Should be an interesting game...

  • Comment number 36.

    Sadly the people in charge of football in the UK are only driven by one thing and that is money. The same goes for all sports (tennis, athletics etc.).

    Until something is done to truly promote grass root sports (and not just pay lip service to it), we will continue to see a deterioration in the quality of our sports people/teams.

  • Comment number 37.

    We are separate as teams, and I shall cheer every England goal. But any German supporter will be welcome at my house, to share my hospitality, and to crow if they beat us.
    We are blood cousins and the great thing from this draw is that our Anglo Saxon gene will progress to the next round whatever.
    So bon chance & may the best team win.

  • Comment number 38.

    I don't disagree with any of this, apart from this:

    "But, at the same time, the English national team has gone backwards. Despite the Football Association enjoying its own substantial growth in revenues on the back of the game's television rights boom, it seems money has had a negative impact on the health of the English team."

    I don't get where your evidence for this comes from? Surely you would be comparing the England team's performance for the 20 years before the Premier League as opposed to the near-20 years after. In my mind - and please, if you think I'm wrong correct me - the England team's performance has been more consistent since the PL started.

    I think too much is made of the reduction in numbers of English players; this has been superceded by a smaller but better group of players. It would be great to have that much strength in depth, but the sad truth is that invariably this would mean a reduction in the top level of quality - this would mean less Rooneys, Terrys and Gerrards, and 5 different Jenas's, Phil Nevilles and Bents. It's a backward logic to hark for that.

    On a sidenote - I'm getting a little tired of the Beeb's drumming up of old psychological traumas. How many pages show the Gazza/Italia 90 video?? This is a new England team, a new Germany team. To my mind this Germany team represents a new and insteresting challenge, as they seem to typify less the traditional German footballing traditions. Lahm, Ozil, Podolski, Klose, Cacau - they all give the Germans a different style and approach, changed from the eras of Klinsmann or Bierhoff. Can't wait for Sunday!

  • Comment number 39.

    Burn out is a myth. It makes no sense that people develop a progressive fatigue over the season. If you have rest and recover between matches, that's all there is to it. There is no cumulative fatigue that you need a month break for, just as you don't catch up on sleep.

    If players are suffering "burn out" it's because they train to hard without enough rest; too much emphasis placed on strength; which, in turn ,leads to muscles that constantly hold tension and are prone to fatigue, injury etc hence the problem with injuries in sport.

  • Comment number 40.

    All it really points too is that England are exceptionally lucky to get beyond the group stages and they dont really stand a chance of winning the world cup. The other teams just completely surpass them. It is a very unfortunate reality but that is simply the case. England will not get anywhere near winning the world cup.

    The whole structure needs revamped. The whole system of how English footbal operates needs redone. It will really take a generation to overdone the damage, but it will never happen. The EPL generates too much revenue and the fat cats are only interested in that, they certainly arent interested in English football, let alone British football as a whole.

  • Comment number 41.

    I hate it when people bring up speaking other languages as if it's a sign of sophistication.

    Most non-native-English-speakers learn English for the practical benefits, not for esoteric reasons. The language world just isn't symmetrical - get over it. In fifty years kids (including British kids) may well learn some Chinese language instead.

  • Comment number 42.

    The differences between the leagues do not stop there.

    Look at the number of English managers working in the premier league, as well as the number of coaches that are FIFA certified before they take up their position. This can mean that many coaches are disinterested in the national game. SAF does not hide his lack of interest in England, and, being a scott, he has no reason to. Why should he be interested in the standing of England.
    In addition to the foreign coaches, how many of the clubs are owned by foreign owners? Liverpool, Man UTD, Chelsea, Arsenal (for the most part), Aston Villa and Man City, to name a few are not owned by people who have any interest in England's (or Britain's) football development.
    Money has been the key factor. Like any privatised industry, money counts more than service, development and standards and the premier league reaps TV rights from far and wide, dividing the profits minimally to lower leagues and the national squad.
    It seems only now, when English football is being unravelled in debt and uncertainty, are we realising that limitations should never have been relaxed as far as they have. The long term implications for the english game could be devastating.
    As far as the game is concerned, on any given day, either one could take it (although I pray it doesnt come to penalties)!

  • Comment number 43.

    Form and expectation have been a casualty this World Cup. Pedigree? Germany, Brazil, Spain, Portugal? They were all groping at one time or the other.

    Only Argentina, Netherlands, USA showed class and consistency. Uruguay, Mexico, Korea, Ghana and Japan too have not let down hopes.

    Ivory Coast has been the unluckiest team to have exited from the group of death; anywhere else and they'd be playing the round of 16. I cannot think of another deserving case!

  • Comment number 44.

    Regarding foreign players in the EPL. How many Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish players (considered home grown yet not entitled to play for England) did the big clubs have in their squads in the old Football League? Foreign players have been the norm for English clubs since the beginning of the 1900's. This is not a problem.

  • Comment number 45.

    #32, buymespresso, wow, a member of...I'm not quite sure, not being fair minded, actually being quite discriminate. On what grounds do Germany deserve to win and England not, before a ball has even been kicked? Doesn't sound like a fair playing field to me.

    #30 and #42 touch on good points about coaches. There are a lot of English coaches, but, as has been well documented, not so many at the highest level, and even then you struggle to think of one playing progressive football. One chink of light has been the brand of football we've seen in the season just finished from Harry Redknapp and Roy Hodgson's teams, but they are 2 elder statesmen who've been around the block.

    We're hearing people worrying about our younger players coming through, but actually our Under 17s have just become European Champions and the Under 21s have reached the semi-finals and Final of the last 2 competitions, so I'm not convinced there isn't young talent. I'm more worried that we don't have the coaches to develop them into the finished article. Much as I like the guy, Stuart Pearce doesn't fill me with confidence that he can imbue our fledglings with Maradonaesque ball control, a Barcelona passing game, or Bergkamp intellect.

    #43, think the USA have shown fantastic resolve, a feature of a lot of their sportsmen and women, but can't agree they've shown 'class and consistency'. They got a draw against England thanks to a rank bad goalkeeping error, were losing 2-0 to Slovenia before fighting back for a 2-2, and won 1-0 aginst Algeria with a late,late goal. If that had been England we'd've been saying how lucky they were, not that I think it was luck.

  • Comment number 46.

    @Harry (not having a pop, just sharing knowledge)

    'Burn Out' is actually to do with mental fatigue, ever tried exam study for more than a few hours without finding it hard to keep the same concentration you had to begin with?

    It's the same principle, football at the highest level requires an extreme amount of mental ability and energy. The players must have complete focus and concentration for a full 90mins. This concentration isn't on themselves either, they must be aware of everything happening around them - team mates, opposition etc in order to make use of any tactical thinking or play at all.

    There is also something called the ideal performance state (IPS) which requires arousal to the point where an athlete is in an almost hypnotic state during the game. I would assume that every game in the season the coaching staff will be attempting to get the players to this IPS state. However after such a long season it is highly likely that the players will find it much more difficult to attain those high arousal levels.

    But say you take a short break from your study and then begin again? The old magic is back, you can concentrate for a period of time once again. Ever wondered why, at the start of the PL season there are always three or four players who surprise everyone? Same principle, the players are mentally fresh, they can attain they required levels of arousal to come close to the IPS or achieve it. Whoever comes closer (all other factors being equal) will perform better.

    Long season, no break = Mental Fatigue (or 'burn out') during WC

    Long season, break = less Mental Fatigue, more likely to reach the IPS and perform well at the WC

    Extremely blunt in summary and probably haven't covered every angle, but no one likes the guy who posts an essay.


  • Comment number 47.


    Has the national team really "gone backwards" since the inception of the premier league?

    1974 didn't qualify
    1978 didn't qualify
    1982 second round
    1986 quarter finals
    1990 semi finals
    1994 didn't qualify (more to do with Graham Taylor)
    1998 second round
    2002 quarter finals
    2004 quarter finals

    to be honest when you include things like the teams England played it's about the same, if not better.

    Dodgy unsupported stats lazily introduced to reinforce a tenuous point.

  • Comment number 48.

    Sorry, 2006, not's early

  • Comment number 49.

    where do you think the 'saxon' bit of your 'anglo-saxon model of business' comes from ??? you need a geography / history lesson as well as a footballing one.

    the serious point is that the EPL is indeed a blight on the chances of the England team....we allow a situation where a team representing a community in North London, is unable to field a single BRITISH let alone ENGLISH player week in week out; it cannot be right that not one player for Arsenal comes from the UK (Walcott being the token englishman - but rarely gets risked against big opposition) - this is condoned by the EPL because they are interested in the PRODUCT (I hate that word) rather than the establishment of a pool of young UK talent. Anyone making it through appears to do so in spite of rather than because of the system.
    Germany may get beaten by us tomorrow - but we will have to play at 100% to do it. However; I know who will have the stronger squad in you can see the future with the Germans. I even think Rooney will be burnt out by then, leaving us with Hart, Johnson, Milner.....erm ? I make my point.

  • Comment number 50.

    All very interesting but it just continues the tradition we have of analysing to death our reasons for lack of consistent sporting success.

    If we lack anything it's realism. We swing between wild delusions of grandeur and utter desolation. It would be a lot easier if we accepted that we have an entertaining domestic product, which occasionally produces enough outstanding players to make up a strong national team, which is capable of challenging on the world stage. Saying it is deeply flawed or hopeless is as futile as claiming it is the best in the world.

    We have had one major tournament win in our history, a triumph helped by home advantage, Pele being hacked to pieces, and a critical decision from the officials in the final. Other than that there was a fantastic team in 1970 which could have gone further than the quarters but for poor substitutions by Sir Alf Ramsay. And then there was a surprise surge to the semis in 1990. But that's it.

    We fool ourselves into thinking we are a major nation based on club success. We don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Brazil, Germany and Italy. Yes I know the latter have failed this time but just line their World Cup trophies up against ours. I don't think I'm being harsh and I don't think there is any shame in being just below this tier or nations. This is a good sporting country overall and I think we might actually win more trophies if we were better at coping with the unrealistic expectations and pressures we put on ourselves!

  • Comment number 51.

    David Bond, im not doubting your great at your job.

    But why are you in every post downing Englands chances? why is there a constant sense of pessimism?

    England havent lost a game this World Cup, they have. They only just beat Ghana.

    To win the World Cup you have to beat the best teams, if its this early so be it. Now please get behind your country and quit the pessimistic attitude.

  • Comment number 52.

    #50, that's about the most realistic post I've seen in all my time on here Canadupe. A round of applause.

  • Comment number 53.

    Every match has its own history: this is no exception and you folks can most definitely win it. Put the past and the brain titillations to rest and just play to the level you have shown against Slovenia.

    If Germany has to resort to a psychic octopus, as read elsewhere, you are safe! :)

    May the best team go through, but show some optimism!

    Forza England!

  • Comment number 54.

    buymeespresso: You wrote "I had known that German football was healthy financially, but I hadnt known about the regulations that encourage Bundesliga clubs to encourage German - esp young German - footballers. That's great - it explains a lot about the German World Cup squad. But how did they manage to implement such rules without interfering with EU regulations?"

    I think (though I may be wrong here) that they avoid problems with the EU because it's not a regulation of the Bundesliga but a gentelman's agreement. Can you imagine the English clubs doing THAT? Sir Alex needs an edge over Chelsea in the second half of the season, but insists on maintaining the gentleman's agreement to select English players? Or, better, Arsene Whinger?! The game is just different in other countries, better in many ways. Less money-orientated. My brother who lives in Germany has a season ticket at Moenchengladbach (which is our family's 'second' team) for himself and his two lads - £450 the lot to watch top flight German football in a brand new 55,000 seater stadium, which is usually more or less full.

    Different world.

  • Comment number 55.

    #46 Which book did you read this in ...

    You have joined the pseudo science culture reading whatever you want in some example to make a point. No better than journalism really.

    IPS, mental fatigue ?? Which copy of Womans Own did you read this in? I am laughing so much. It's football, just a simple game I doubt that a concentrated thought has crossed Stevie G's mind since the last time he was briefed by his defence counsel.

  • Comment number 56.

    In recent month´ the Bundesliga is portayed as the holy grail and ideal world of club football in England.

    These days the DFL is running the first and second Bundesliga and licensing of the clubs and no longer the DFB. Schalke had a cash flow problem around christmas, second Bundesliga outfit Arminia Bielefeld was saved a few weeks ago by local companies supplying the 10,5m Euros required to secure professional football in the city. Relegated RW Ahlen was saved from filing for insolvency in the 11th hour. Also relegated Hansa Rostock received guarantee from the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to stay afloat and had to withdraw it`s reserves.

    In the DFB run leagues 3. Liga (two clubs were saved) and the three Regionalliga divisons five clubs filed for insolvency and a sixt didn`t get a licence for next season.

    All that sounds very similar to both the PL and FL. Clubs are run by people and at the end of the day it doesn´t matter if it`s a single person, a group of shareholders or a board elected by members if the same mistakes are made.

    Re the youth academies, those are up and running. If top players will be developed, only time will tell and surely more money will be needed and more coaches with the right approach to teach skills.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    #45 Thanks for your comments; you may have a point there. Before USA joined battle with England I gave them a fair and fighting chance in the group. Being a routine England backer I could not go with the stream and say England would roll over the USA. I saw it was going to be a fight.

    Sure enough USA fought back to a draw. Against Slovenia they fought back from 2 down. Not many teams are capable of doing that. Then they beat Algeria 1-0. If that is not consistency and class then may be I am stuck with a problem in semantics. Seeing their resources and lack of world class stars they have outperformed expectations. Now I give them chances against Ghana who have known performers amongst them.

  • Comment number 59.


    You know full well what is meant by Anglo-Saxon business model. Personal attacks claiming I need a lesson in history and geography are unwarranted. The EPL mindset you have described is exactly what the model is: Profit, shareholder's interests, short-term gain. German business mentality, including Bundesliga, is about sustainability.

    As for the history and geography jibe, greetings from Berlin, from the library of the Free University. Plenty of books here about history, economics and geography.

  • Comment number 60.

    Good blog David, the kind expected of BBC. I didn't know the details of the structural differences between EPL and Bundesliga. Will any action be taken by the FA to address the deficiencies? Or will you, journalists, keep at this subject after the world cup to pressurise the FA?

    A England win on Sunday, though unlikely, will mask the issues. I expect England to lose and the players to happily hit their holiday spots. They will be back for EPL start to do some work to justify their weekly pay packets. The same issues will rear up in 2014. It is the ME, ME, ME culture that is destroying the ethos and ethics in the society, sports, business and politics.

  • Comment number 61.

    The English game hasnt gone backwards since the PL.

    We have NEVER been much good as a national team.

    The PL has made no difference to that.

  • Comment number 62.

    As a German, I think that there is a little factual error in the blog. The Bundesliga local player rule, as far as I know it, does not say, that 12 players of the matchday squad of 18 must be german.

    It only says, that every Bundesliga Club must have at least 12 german players under contract, however big the pro squad of a team is. Most Clubs have around 30 Players under contract, some more than 40.
    And there have to be at least 8 so called local players contracted, which means players that have been registered at least three years in youth football to a german club, at least 4 of them even at the club itself.

    This 12 german players rule does help, but I can tell you, that in some clubs they just contract some cheap youth players or veterans with no intention to ever field them, if they cannot find first rate german players.

    After big problems at the 2000 Euro the german FA and the Bundesliga agreed on a youth plan, with the World Cup in Germany in sight.

    Every first and second Bundesliga club had to establish a youth academy that had to meet some standards. The FA widend their trainer staff and established many new regional trainig camps, where the around 5000 best german youth players meet and practise together regulary additional to there club training.

    The FA finances this with around 10 million Euro a year, while the clubs have spent around 600 millions for there youth academies in the last ten years, as they have announced a few weeks ago.

    The main target was to knit a net, so that no local, regional talent, even from a small club should be left unnotized, as it happend in former days. Talents should be found as early as possible to give them high standard training as early as possible. And the focus, at least to the age of 15-16 was strictly on skills, not stamina.

    What I think, after the youth system, there are two main points of difference between german and english player education, that are important to watch:

    1. Bundesliga reserve teams are allowed to the ordinary league system up to the 3rd Bundesliga level. We have no reserves league. So almost every Bundesliga Club has a second team in the 3rd or 4th tier, giving their 19 to 22 year old talents the chance to play regular football against and with adult players. In England, as far as I know it, you make it to the first team at 18, or you stay in the reserves and play only with and against players of the same age. That might be not good for the development of the late bloomers.

    2. The rich english clubs have the opportunity to contract 11 specialists for every position on the field, and even 11 specialist back-ups for the bench.

    Economy forces german clubs to focus much more on multifunctional players. Most clubs do not even have 11 specialists for the first team and even the richest may have 2 specialist centerbacks and 1 or two specialist strikers for the bench, but the rest are allrounders.

    Now think: a club team can buy players from the global market, a national team is limited to the national player pool.
    And the problem starts, if your national pool does not deliver from time to time on this or that position.
    The top english players are specialists from youth on, while in Germany most of the players are educated on several positions during their youth days, because that gives them a better chance to find a place in the future.

    You have a problem since years, to put Lampard and Gerrard in the same team, without cutting to much of their individual potential. They are to similar, but also not flexible enough to adapt most of their potential to another position.

    Bastian Schweinsteiger on the other hand, was mainly educated as central midfielder, sometimes fielded offensive, sometimes defensive. But as Bayern had top central midfielders, he was used on the wings, as fullback and as center midfield back-up for years. Good enough to even get a spot in the german team as winger, as the german pool did not deliver a specialist 6 years ago.

    Now. at 25 he came to the age where his teammates accept him as a leader on the pitch and was promoted to his best position as holding midfielder, but has hundreds of league games and 75 caps of experience in his pocket.

    In England he might have played in the reserves of a big club until 22 and then might have got a place on the bench as back-up for an international topstar center midfielder.

    So, on sunday England may have some players with big names more on the field - not all of them in best shape, but Germanya will have less positions where the national talent pool did not deliver, and if, their alternatives are good allrounders, who at least are fit and know the tactical duties of that positions.

    An open game, between youth and experience, coolectivism and individualism, teamwork and starpower.

  • Comment number 63.

    i will be a very brave girl this weekend : i intend to watch the game in the local pub. i am a german but living, working and loving in England for coming up 20 years now. i shall bring a little german flag and sit amongst loads and loads of Lions and i will be cheering the young german lads on :) football is a GAME, 90 mins and may the better team on the day win. SIMPLES :)

  • Comment number 64.

    This is the first good blog I have read from you David. Interesting, informative and insightful. Well done.

  • Comment number 65.

    Mr Bond, I am baffled as to what your point is. You seem to be trying to suggest that club wealth, ownership and the lack of winter break makes the standard of international players worse. There just is no evidence for this though and begs the question why aren't the Germans better then the Spainish and what does that say about the French and Italians?

    The deep seated reason English teams struggle at the international tournaments is because of managers such as Fabio Capello. Throughout a players entire footballing life in England a player will have a Capello like manager screaming for them to kick an opponent, boot the ball to lanky striker to knock on, or kick it into row Z. Creativity, flair, risk all fill these managers with rage as for dribbling, well for Capello like managers their is no greater crime then to dare dribble past a opponent.

    It is these out of dated tactics and approach to management that Capello reinforces. Only players brought through at West Ham are actually allowed to play football and do so with style and technique, hence why they make up half the England team(or should do)despite being a smallish club.

    So to summarise the England teams failure is due to people like Mr Bond supporting managers such as Capello with their negative football and terrible treatment of any player with flair.

  • Comment number 66.

    thank you, David, for at last putting out a well-informed, reasoned blog. But now we want more of the same and less of the bandwaggoneering of the past 2 weeks!
    I've lived in Germany for 18 years now and have - especially in the light of Portsmouth, and to as lesser extent Liverpoool and ManU's debt-happy owners - really come to appreciate the tight ships that are being run here, where the clubs STILL belong to the fans, in the true sense of the word. At the beginning of the 90s the clubs here also had a problem with the level of foreign players but have pulled themselves together and got a happy medium. I'm praying for an england win tomorrow because my life here will be unbearable for weeks if we lose. But the infrastructure of the pro game here is clearly stronger than that in England.

  • Comment number 67.

    starofthesouth (post 62) you have to admit that it's much harder for German talent to break through than it is for the young english players! I grant you that they're more flexible when they DO break through in Germany but it's only very recently that bayern has started to blood so many young players - Schweinsteiger was a shining exception of his generation - and although clubs like Hoffenheim and schalke have now vowed to bring their own talent through, this just hasn't happened over the years. And rooney would have only got into the national side for the 2008 Euros in Germany, because 18 year olds have traditionally not been deemed as mature enough for the A team. Klinsmann und Löw have changed things for the better in that respect, but you're making a lot of black and white statements that look quite grey from where I'm sitting!

  • Comment number 68.

    The best solution for English football is to take some of the money out of the game. because it is such a cash cow for the happy few, the top clubs get lazy and greedy. They are only interesting in short term financial gain, not so much in the glory of winning a trophy.

    I think it is quite sickening to hear Liverpool club talk about having to win a place in the champions league for the money that will generate, I would have hoped they would have said "we want to be champions". These clubs (also in Spain and other countries by the way) have lost the plot. It is only about winning more money, not about winning sporting legacy.

    The most sickening thing of the current football game is that clubs like Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal and the likes eat away the youngest talents abroad, like locusts. Players who haven't even played for any first team in the country of birth are being plucked away at the age of 15 or 16, brought into the youth academy of the premier league clubs and when 1 in 10 talents make it to the first team they will say "well done us". The other 9 are thrown out with their career on a dead track and the smaller competitions in Europe and South America are starved from potentially good players.

    All this just to feed some hungry bank managers who get itchy because Man U or Liverpool can't pay their debt.

    My advice is: stop the enormous flow of money in the Premier League, cap the club debts at for instance 3 percent of their total budget and for once start investing in talent that was actually born in England.

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm an ex pat too....been living in Germany for 13 yrs also in Bayern the so called "heart" of German football. I have another opinion about German football itself never mind the National team for a second....Franz said last week that England play "kick and rush" but I know from my 50 odd work mates (all Germans) who are nearly all amateur players that the Germans look at the Premier League with very "green eyes" because of the "pace" of our game...i.e Bayern went thru in the Champs league on away goals even if it was a "once in a lifetime" goal from Robben...but in work they still talk about how Man Utd ripped them to bits in the first 40 mins.(they still can't believe it) even months later. The next point is that the Bundesliga is not so strong as some people think...There too is a "top four" syndrome with normally Bayern at the top, and the rest very poor, but saying that almost every good player that steps out in the Bundesliga "must" be bought by Bayern or they spit their dummy out. Bayern and German club football have been in the Euro football wilderness for ten years until they managed this years final. (well they turned up but did not play lol)...So this in my eyes means also for the National team...THEY NEED TO BE GOT AT WITH PACE POWER HARD TACKLING AND DIRECT "IN YOUR FACE" football. If we allow them to slow the game down with all the square passes across the back and then back WILL LOSE. They will frustrate us and ...well I don't want to consider losing but if we don't play OUR way we won't frighten them...THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT SCARES THEM...BEING GOT AT...RUN AT...AND GIVEN NO TIME TO SETTLE...COME ON ENGLAND !!!! I'm Terry

  • Comment number 70.

    67. At 12:27pm on 26 Jun 2010, harrischopper wrote:

    starofthesouth (post 62) you have to admit that it's much harder for German talent to break through than it is for the young english players! I grant you that they're more flexible when they DO break through in Germany but it's only very recently that bayern has started to blood so many young players - Schweinsteiger was a shining exception of his generation - and although clubs like Hoffenheim and schalke have now vowed to bring their own talent through, this just hasn't happened over the years. And rooney would have only got into the national side for the 2008 Euros in Germany, because 18 year olds have traditionally not been deemed as mature enough for the A team. Klinsmann und Löw have changed things for the better in that respect, but you're making a lot of black and white statements that look quite grey from where I'm sitting!


    I told you, the big change came with the decisions made 2000, and, what I not included, with the bakruptcy of the german pay tv contractor, that forced german teams to focus on cheaper players around 2003, if I remeber it correctly. At that time, many Clubs promoted their youth team player much earlier than normal. And as Stuttgart under Magath made it with a very young team to the second place and Champions League qualification, born under economical pressure, other teams tried to copy them.

    So, Podolski, Lahm and Schweinsteiger are not the first products of the new system, all of them debuted 2004 under Voeller, the first product of the 2000 started programms are obviously the now 19-24 year olds, our U-17, U-19 and U-21 european champions of the last 2 years.

    All countries had to adjust to the problems the Bosmann verdict made for the youth development. In former days there was no question, as a Bundesliga team simply was not allowed to field more than 3 foreigners.

    In Germany they reacted 2000 and now are harvesting. Maybe this tournament comes to early, but the next decade looks very bright for the german NT, I think.

    And yes, if a player is 18 and of top talent, he would have a greater chance in England to enter a first team spot, than in Germany. But how few are that?
    Otherwise they are often wasted for years in your reserve teams, instead of getting experience on different positions as allrounders, or at least against older players in the 3rd league.

  • Comment number 71.

    You state: "German clubs owe just £30m"

    Is that on average?

    Last time I looked Schalke, for one, had huge debt (£125mil, or so), which compares with Portsmouth.

    Sure, overall the Bundesliga and the German setup is streets ahead of the English game, but let's keep the facts straight.

    Otherwise, good blog.

  • Comment number 72.

    Great blog. As for Trickytree...the Bundesliga makes MORE money, hence one of the points the article makes.

  • Comment number 73.


    Why do some people think the English are Germans?

    The Germans are in fact English.

    So are the Americans.
    Since you use the word 'fact' then should be easy for you to prove this?

  • Comment number 74.

    Some of the Rivalries in the round of 16 are a bit astonishing that they were drawn together, Germany/England, Mexico/Argentina, Portugal/Spain, Chile/Brazil, what entertainment. Good Blog.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm not convinced that the problems within our domestic setup are financial.

    I live in France where there is an abundance of technically gifted players, many of which would walk into the England team.

    Granted they've imploded this year, but that's got a lot to do with bad management.

    The reason there seem to be so many gifted players here is (IMHO) that football is not a game to be watched on telly, but played. And from a young age too. Fat kids are a rare sight here, despite schools not having much in the way of facilities.

    It's not just football though, everybody here plays some kind of sport. Rugby,tennis, basketball, athletics, handball. In fact if you can find a sport in which France doesn't have a decent record at international level then you're doing pretty well (Actually I've just thought of two, cricket and rugby league...)

    If England (and the rest of the UK) could find a way of getting kids off of their fat behinds we would be better represented in sporting tournaments.

  • Comment number 77.

    This German team is very different from the successful German of the past. The typical strengths of those past teams are the weaknesses of this team and vice versa.
    They are talented and can - if in the mood - play beautiful football. But they lack the fearlessness, the fighter mentality, the iron will that has driven those great German teams to success. They are a bunch of schoolkids that are under the cosh of a vain, scheming schoolteacher (Joachim Loew). They have no leader on the field. (Loew loathes and fears players with strong personalities like Frings who had an excellent season and should have been selected. Lahm sounds and behaves like an overeager model pupil/geek, not like a man.)
    As a German, I would like them to win but I think they will wilt under pressure. On past performances in big games, I predict Ozil, Khedira, Badstuber/Aogo/Boateng to look like frightened puppies out there, Podolski and Mueller to be overambitious and headless. The other players will cope better mentally but some of them lack the class (Mertesacker, Friedrich). Neuer, Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Klose will play well, but this will not be enough.

  • Comment number 78.

    I was suprised to see how people from the UK think about our Bundesliga. As a german, I have to agree with most of what is said. And yes, "Schalke" is an exception, regarding their politics. German clubs usually have a flat hierarchy of power, which make them grow slow and consistant.

    Regarding what british media have said beforehand, all these comments give me a better idea of what's really being talked about the game on sunday. Apart from calling out the german Panzers, and other ridiculous stories. I must say that I do enjoy this "sports rivlery" very much, and how every game that we played against each other is given depth. However this year, I don't understand the connection of being a "villain team" with this young german squad. We'll see, maybe I'm wrong when our players start cheating and progress to the next round after shooting penalties. Nevertheless as much as I want to see this happening, I don't think it will. Englands got a golden age of skilled and experienced players. And as you could see during the CL finals, when it comes down to doing the job and being a team, maturity often outsmarts the young.

    Either way, best of luck to the one who progresses, and may it be the team who wins the Cup. :)

  • Comment number 79.

    It will be a very good game tomorrow. As an Englishman, may the best team win :):) I can't wait!

    I reckon the blog is right too. The DFB and Bundesliga are different from the FA and Premier League in the sense that they are not just interested about money and the clubs but the national team too.

    You can see this in the players produced too. The Germans have produced a number of young stars who are always given a chance, who are better technically than their English counterparts, as well as playing at a higher level.
    Do you see this in England? No, because the big clubs (like my beloved 'Pool) would rather poach players from abroad than actually develop their own.
    You also see young home-grown players getting in the big German teams. Look at Bayern Munich, with Louis Van Gaal who promotes youth in Thomas Mueller and Holger Badstuber.

    Anyway: can't wait for the game tommorow. Hope it's played in the right spirit :):)

  • Comment number 80.

    The really sad thing for England apart from the continuing and almost inevitable failure is that nearly all neutrals will want them out due to the turgid dire boring football they play. They bring more baggage than skills and only seem to bring any excitement to the tournaments they play in during their biannual penalty shoot out. Considering how exciting the Premiership is it's bizarre just how poor they are. Fair enough if they are simply not as skillful as their rivals but they don't even manage to bring the exciting spectacle of hustle and bustle football a la Premiership. Seriously if you were a neutral would you actually want them progress? When was the last time they played brilliantly in a big tournament and endeared themselves to the rest of the world? Nah I can't remember either. Poor.

  • Comment number 81.

    Terry Crofts you're bang on - a hard nosed pressing game, starting in the opponents' half. It should be something we're good at but we never seemto do it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Really interesting and well informed article. Thanks Phil

  • Comment number 83.

    I remember the FA promising a 'root and branch' review of the England set up after sacking Mclaren in November 2007 for not qualifying for Euro 2008. This suggested that they would be making the sorts of changes which are alluded to in this blog in the interests of the national team but it seems this has all been forgotten. If England get knocked out by Germany on Sunday then this promise should be coming back to haunt them. If the UK Press genuinely want England to be better and do better then they need to remind everybody about this promise and I commend you David for your constructive criticism and hope you will follow up on this regardless of Englands results.

  • Comment number 84.

    There's a lot of nonesense being said in the comments to this blog. Comments generally coming from the none English parts of the B&I Isles. The argument that we're being "arrogant" for thinking we're the home of football, and that therefore we should win the world cup all the time, for example. Well, er, we are the the home of football, other countries say that too! We should win it all the time? Don't think I hear anyone saying that actually. We'd LIKE to win it, well yes, of course! When it comes to Germany, they are actually incredibly confident in tournaments, and to me this is the secret to success. However to the anti-English folk in this part of the world, that's perfectly ok, and in no way arrogant. However one comment from Capello, or anyone else, saying we COULD win the world cup, is thrown down as huge arrogance. The truth is as a Nation we DO need to promote more confidence, to enable people to achieve their own personal goals. Constantly putting oneself down and admiring everyone else is not the route to success.

  • Comment number 85.

    Interesting article! You forgot to mention though that most Bundesliga grounds cage their fans like animals and still have stands. Although a lot of English fans would like to return to the stand, I have my doubts whether this would happen! I do agree that the FA is failing to encourage (sufficiently) embryonic English players, instead wasting the money they receive on overpaid staff!

    Also only having 3 leagues before being broken down into a regional basis must also be helpful to the teams..

  • Comment number 86.

    The fans thing is a great idea was touted a few months ago to allow fans the opportunity to take a 20% stake in clubs (in England) and I remember most just dismissing it.

  • Comment number 87.

    #1 ...confirmed, another ****y German who thoroughly enjoys reading this blog. As for the sensational remarks typically found in the (British) gutter press, no, I'm not offended but highly amused that all this WWII hype/hinting at still sells.

    And now for sth. more interesting, footie from a German perspective: Beyond a doubt, for as long as there are still people out there remembering the '74 World Cup Final, or the Riikjard-Völler-spitting-incident in more recent years, Holland -and not England- is likely to remain Germany's archenemy.

    On the whole, any of the top EPL teams makes a German football fan cringe in awe, not the Three Lions, though. Reason number one, because the EPL is **** loaded, thus attracting too many gifted players from around the globe. Two, far too much emphasis is put on performance at club level, with the FA Cup and a 20 teams strong EPL into the bargain.

    And how come England's national team -like so many other forsaken football nations desperate to put their names on the map- is managed by a **** foreigner. You can mark my words that the Dalglishes, Keegans, or even S. Pearce would make all the difference that is, unlike the funny Swedish gigolo nor the present collector of modern art, they'd sit down with the boys and get them MOTIVATED.

    Looking forward to tomorrow, whilst hoping above all to see a truly thrilling performance from either side. Although my money is on the Germans, I'll still go out and celebrate if England go on through. That's what I call taking the best of both worlds. Being a servant of her Majesty and also a holder of a German passport may at times lead to loyalty conflicts, but it ain't going to happen tomorrow. My advice for the stern England supporters: Go to the bookies, spare a tenner for Germany being the outright winner, and give your boys a warm welcome when they're heading back into Heathrow come Monday evening.

  • Comment number 88.

    Does David Bond ever read these any of our entires, or does he just type out h is blogg, upload ity and then move onto the next project?

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm going to write a horrendously long pious diatribe on here.

    No, I'm not.

    This match could really go either way. Neither team will win the World Cup, I don't think. Some German people are sound, some are not. Some English people are sound, some are not.

    GO, umm, TEAM.

    from Jeff.

  • Comment number 90.

    One thing about us English that I have come to realize after 12 years in Germany is not so much our war-time clichees but our unique propensity to rip ourselves apart. I haven't witnessed this in any other country (though it might happen without me being aware of it of course). Ok, I don't need to say it but I will: OF COURSE, all the negative references to the war, Blitz Fritz, Germ Warfare, etc. are ridiculous and tiresome (I got fed up with them about 20 years ago) and I will be happy if I never read another annoying reference to 19-bloody-66 again in my whole life, as well but the Germans play the same game and do not rip themselves apart afterwards. The German Bild (the equivalent - if there can be one - of The Sun) from 25 June has a section called 'Engländer-Witze' (Jokes about the English). Here is one gem: 'How does an Englishman's brain cell die? Answer = alone.' Yeah, really funny. And this is in Germany's best-selling daily. Apart from the fact that this joke is SERiOUSLY not funny, it is insulting to us English living in Germany (I have at least two brain cells, er, I think). But do you see the Germans writing in, slagging off the Bild? I don't. They just take it as a 'bit of fun'. Isn't it funny, we have lost our sense of humour and the Germans seem to have gained one! But not a very good one :-). It is the Germans who should be bitter anyway because the new Germany has NEVER won the world cup. The old West Germany yes, but not the new Germany. It really winds me up when East Germans lay claim to 3 world cups! Cheeky monkeys. Imagine if England and Scotland (sorry Scots), started playing as a national team. Do you think the Scots would claim they won in 1966? I don't think so. At the same time as laying claim to 3 world cups (1954 when they had better studs, 1974 with two lucky goals against the Dutch AT HOME, 1990 against a very weak Argentina side and lucky - again - that we English never practise penalties), East Germans over the age of about 30 go on about how the GDR beat the former West Germany 1-0 in 1974. Jürgen Sparwasser, who scored that famous goal, is a cult figure in East Germany. bandaranayaka#1 You cannot have your world cups and eat them, dear Ossis!

    Anyway, let's show them Krauts some bulldog spirit tomorrow and - oh - Don't mention ze war :-). COME ON ENGLAND! [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator][Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 91.

    46, thankyou for your comments. But I'm not sure he was talking about mental burn out, but physical - No? Atleast that was my understanding.

  • Comment number 92.

    So what is your point? They do it socialist styley in Germany and in fact that is 'de rigeur' in Eurwp and in the US and A too these days. They like you to get it wrong their way.

    Umm bigger league, quite a bit smaller population, footballing tradition all round, similiat GDP

    I rest my case yer honour

    I think this is from people who dont follow football and have some idea that the early 80s of empty stadiums and bust clubs was a golden era

  • Comment number 93.

    "But, at the same time, the English national team has gone backwards"

    Don't really see that've gone backwards. From 1970 onwards:

    Pre Prem

    70- Quarter Final
    74 - DNQ
    78 - DNQ
    82 - 2nd Round
    86 - Quarter Final
    90 - Semi Final


    94 - DNQ
    98 - Round of 16
    02 - Quarter Final
    06 - Quater Final

    Seems to me since 66, we're just about as good as we've always been, on average, quarter finalists

  • Comment number 94.

    Germany´s suffered from a lack of what we call "Strassenfussballer" for some years, meaning we only did get a wee number of natural talents to become pro players.
    So we copied the french academy system when it was at its peak in the nineties. Seems it comes to fruition now. Maybe the FA/EPL is a few years behind; if thats the case, the english national squad may consist of hungry cubs that will hamstring the international elite in 2014....

  • Comment number 95.

    65. At 11:28am on 26 Jun 2010, Super1979 wrote:
    "The deep seated reason English teams struggle at the international tournaments is because of managers such as Fabio Capello. Throughout a players entire footballing life in England a player will have a Capello like manager screaming for them to kick an opponent, boot the ball to lanky striker to knock on, or kick it into row Z. Creativity, flair, risk all fill these managers with rage as for dribbling, well for Capello like managers their is no greater crime then to dare dribble past a opponent.

    It is these out of dated tactics and approach to management that Capello reinforces."

    What on earth are you talking about? The same Capello who screamed bloody murder when our keeper played a long ball under no pressure? The same Capello who masterminded the Milan 'Invincibles', who destroyed Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions league final? The same Capello who has created numerous passing teams?

    Capello's tactics are designed to compliment the strength of his players. During his first reign at Madrid, he played a very attacking line-up, because they had the players to do it.

    England's best players are great at box-to-box, high tempo football, and crap at low-tempo, possession football. If he were managing Spain, then he'd have them playing low-tempo, possession football. No doubt. England need to play more 'direct' football as our poor ball retention doesn't allow slow build up.

  • Comment number 96.

    Don't you think the fans are also to blame here in England for the debt?

    I mean how many times do we hear fans moaning that their club isn't spending enough or that theirt team hasn't signed any big names? It seams a lot of fans in this country are just worried about buying stars so that they can say the premier league is the best league. Very few fans say the manager needs new tactics or coaching methods, or we need to get some youngsters through, it's always the manager needs another 30 million to do so and so.

  • Comment number 97.

    No 45 japrobin

    Ive usually seen you make good sensible posts but your comment baout the under 21s makes you naive at best.
    Do you really think its Stuart Pearces job to teach ball control to 20 year old players???? Or teach them the intellect of a bergkamp??? I have never heard such ridiculus comments in my life. The ball control maradonna had cant be taught just as much as the vision that bergkamp had cant be taught. Its a gift that your either born with or not. Besides Stuart Pearces job isnt to teach 20 year old men how to trap a ball, his job is to get them ready for the step up to the full squad.

    The problem isnt the english coaches teaching in the english professional game, its the lack of grade A uefa coaches in schools up and down the country like Spain have. Until our kids are taught ball control,one touch football and pass and move then we will move forward as a nation. Spain have done it for the last 15 years and now look where they are. It isnt coincidence that 15 years after implementing a plan at grass roots that Spain now have at least 7 world class players in their team. We as a nation need to address this issue. And im talking about all F.As of the 4 home nations as im Scottish.

    I want england to win a world cup i also want Scotland to qualify for one again,just as i do wales and N ireland. And even the republic of ireand. But until these issues are addressed by F.As and Governments nothing will ever change

  • Comment number 98.

    Germany vs England in sport

    Number of World Cup wins: Germany 3, England 1
    # World Cup finals: Germany 7, England 1
    # women's World Cup wins: Germany 2, England 0 (England has yet to reach the semis)
    # current Formula 1 drivers: Germany 6, England 2
    # World Cup penalty shootouts won: Germany 4, England 0
    # World Cup penalty shootouts lost: Germany 0, England 3
    # Open Era Wimbledon singles titles: Germany 11, Britain 2
    # World Cup wins in men's field hockey: Germany 2, England 0
    # World Cup podiums in men's field hockey: Germany 8, England 1
    # World Cup wins in women's field hockey: Germany 2, England 0
    # World Cup podiums in women's field hockey: Germany 5, England 0
    # European Basketball Championships qualified for: Germany 20 (1 title), England or Britain 5
    # Olympic gold medals: Germany (including West Germany but excluding East Germany due to doping program) 300, Britain (incl Wales, Scot, NI) 216
    # Olympic medals: Germany (incl W, excl E) 962, Britain (incl Wales, Scot, NI) 737

    PS: East Germany had 519 medals, 192 of them gold.

  • Comment number 99.

    Oops, sorry, forgot to include in the medal counts the unified German team at six Olympics between 1956 and 1964 - they won 137 medals, 36 of them gold.

  • Comment number 100.

    British Formula 1 world champions 10, Germant 1

    British constructors titles in F1 37, Germany 2

    Current or ex world champions in F1 today Britain 2, Germany 1

    Sorry but in F1 Germany do not compete with Britain by a country mile.


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