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Germany go for the jugular

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Chris Bevan | 22:06 UK time, Saturday, 3 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Cape Town

When German tabloid Bild ran the front-page headline "We are going to blow you away" after Joachim Loew's side had thrashed an aging Australia in their first game at this World Cup, I cannot have been the only person thinking that they might come to regret making such bold statements so early in the competition.

It was not just the newspapers that were getting carried away either. An English friend of mine who lives in Berlin told me how, after the Socceroos had been put to the sword, the whole country seemed to be celebrating already and apparently the general feeling was that this was their year.

That struck me as somewhat strange behaviour for Germans, who are usually far more reserved - especially as their side were not considered one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Then came defeat against Serbia, and the buzz about Germany being serious World Cup contenders faded for a while, especially as the South American super-powers came to the fore. But not anymore.

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Highlights - Argentina 0-4 Germany(UK users only)

Three weeks on, following crushing wins by Loew's swashbuckling young team over England and Argentina on their way to a semi-final against European champions Spain, it appears Bild, Berlin, and the rest of the German nation might just have been right.

Nobody can ignore Germany's credentials to regain the trophy they last lifted at Italia '90, or the thrilling fashion in which they have powered into the last four.

I was lucky enough to be at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon to witness them end Diego Maradona's World Cup dream and it is their devastatingly direct style that impressed me the most and sets them apart from most of the other teams who were in South Africa, and all of those left in the competition.

schweinsteiger595.jpgBastian Schweinsteiger tore holes in the Argentina defence

While their next opponents, who edged them out in the final of Euro 2008 two years ago, prefer playing pretty passing patterns, Germany simply go for the jugular - and to great effect.

Although Paul the psychic squid has famously 'predicted' all their results in South Africa so far, few people or cephalopods (outside of Germany at least) would probably have foreseen them putting four goals past not just Australia but England and Argentina too.

With 13 goals in five games they are the top scorers in the tournament, with the next highest (Argentina) on 10. Of the three other teams who can win it, the Netherlands have scored nine goals so far, Uruguay seven and Spain six.

Why do they find the net so often? Well, their tactics for a start - and English football should take it as a compliment that they have modelled their high-tempo style on Premier League football. Perhaps Fabio Capello should follow suit?

But maybe the fact their approach is so unusual at international level is the reason it is so effective.

Argentina certainly couldn't cope with the velocity or ferocity of Germany's forward play in the first half-hour or the last 20 minutes of their quarter-final, which is why they ended up on the wrong end of their worst World Cup defeat since losing 6-1 to Czechoslovakia in 1958.

Germany proved they could defend too, of course, keeping out an Argentina side who were themselves considered a big attacking threat, in particular Lionel Messi who was completely overshadowed in midfield by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

"We were incredibly convincing in our defensive display to neutralise Messi," Loew said in his press conference after the match.

"What the team showed in terms of determination to win was the sort you would expect from champions, also the ambition they showed, the speed and the attacking tempo we showed in the second half - it was absolute class."

Loew, who celebrated some of Germany's goals as though he had scored them himself, is rightly proud of the way his team have performed so far in South Africa, and crucially his players seem to believe in their coach too. They embrace the system they are asked to play - as well as being perfectly suited to it.

It means Loew gets the most out of them. While the likes of Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski have had poor - or even disastrous - seasons for their clubs, they have slotted into Loew's 4-2-3-1 formation and found their form.

Klose, whose two-goal salvo drew him level with legendary compatriot Gerd Muller on 14 goals as the second-highest scorers in World Cup finals history (one behind Ronaldo), barely played or scored at all last season.

But when I spoke to Jurgen Klinsmann - Loew's predecessor as German coach, and the man who put the foundations that the current team are building on in place during his time in charge from 2004 to 2006 - last week, he told me that the Bayern Munich striker was in "World Cup shape".

I took that to mean he is raising his game for a major tournament once again - but I might have been wrong. After all, Klose did celebrate his second strike with a somersault - not bad for a 32-year-old.

klose_jump595.jpgKlose encounter: Striker celebrates with a somersault

He is not the only German player producing his best form on the biggest stage, however.

Schweinsteiger, who set up two of their goals and played a huge part in a third, ran the game against Argentina as well as helping to keep Messi quiet.

"Bastian had a fantastic game." Loew said. "The work he put in, the distance he covered and how he organised the team as well as starting every attack. There are not many midfielders who are playing at his level."

Arguably two of the few that are, are among Schweinsteiger's team-mates. Mezut Oezil, 21, has lived up to the hype that saw him proclaimed one of the best young players in Europe and 20-year-old Thomas Mueller has emerged as one of the brightest new talents on the planet with his incisive play over the last few weeks.

Sadly, Mueller will be suspended for Wednesday's semi-final after picking up a booking in the first half against Argentina but, whether it is the final or a third-placed play-off we will surely see more of him before the end of this tournament.

Suffice to say, the celebrations have been in full flow back in Germany since the final whistle went - they certainly have for the thousands of expats who live in and around Cape Town.

german_berlin595.jpgGerman fans celebrate their team's triumph in Berlin

Loew and his side say they have been lifted by the reaction of their fans - Mueller said afterwards that 'Germany is quaking right now and so are we'.

But I can't help but feeling that, in a slightly different way, Spain will be too. And, given the form their side is in, I certainly would not blame any German now if they think that this will be their year.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    the difference between the germans and everyone else is that they pick a formation and then the best players for each position, not players then formation then position

  • Comment number 2.

    oddly enough I think this German team would have fared much worse if Ballack had been fit. I suspect if he'd been in the team they would have suffered from the same prima donna/superstar syndrome as many of the other teams have. Spain however have more than one superstar - it should be an interesting game.

  • Comment number 3.

    a wonderfully efficient team, germany are a joy to watch. Manuel Neuer bears a striking resemblance to Üter from the Simpsons too!

  • Comment number 4.

    Pretty Yes # 1 and Yes # 2 but....
    Re point 1: Yes they do pick an effective formation and system first. But actually they then give their better players the chance to adapt into that system and formation. Witness Schweinsteiger, Podolski and Lahm, who have played differing positions in the past. So they do not discount an excellent player because 'it is not their favourite position'. They give that player a chance to adjust. It is called planning. And it called blending. They have true footballers who are capable of this adjustment and it does not waste playing resource by still trying to blend them. Compare to England's spoilt bunch of players who now blame the manager for their own limitations as footballers and inability to adjust.
    2. Agreed the absence of Ballack helped unify this true team that play unselfishly. I am not sure I agree with "I suspect if he'd been in the team they would have suffered from the same prima donna/superstar syndrome as many of the other teams have" fully though. They do not suffer the same star worship (as perpetuated by the media) in their football culture as other nations do. They seem to focus on player development and keep their feet on the ground as people more.

  • Comment number 5.

    I thought Muller getting a second yellow card in 5 matches and being banned for a World Cup semi is too extreme of a punishment. The yellow card itself was very harsh. In the EPL a player can get booked in 4 consecutive matches and still be allowed to play in the next game.

  • Comment number 6.

    Argentina's defeat makes the media's criticism of the England team sound harsh. At least we came close to winning the game against Germany at the end of first half and at the beginning of the second, and we really could have won it if Ferdinand had been playing instead of Upson. Argentina hardly looked like they were going to equalise.

    Anyway, Spain looked benign to me yesterday. They couldn't really dominate the game even though their opponents, Paragoay, were way behind the Germans in both defense and attack. My bet is Germany 2 Spain 0.

  • Comment number 7.

    Loew got it right, there are players who have scored more goals than klose & Co in the Bundesliga, but Loew uses his trusted players, that know his sytem and he picked a side to play that system as a team. Klinsmann was Germany´s last manager, but everyone new, the man who trained the squad was his Co trainer, Joachim Loew. German´s U21,U19 trainers are training the young players to play this system. That is why the younger players like Mezil, Khedira, Boateng all find there place in the team quickly.
    The DFB have done great work developing youg team players.
    Maybe the FA should look at this about develping our young players for the future.
    The Country that wins the world cup will be a team that plays as a team

  • Comment number 8.

    England could have won...if they were not rubbish haha germany are awesome.

  • Comment number 9.

    There were signs in both the games against England and Argentina that there is some vunerability in the German side. The problem is that you need to take the chances should they be available. The second goal was the killer against Argentina and they sort of lost their way after that.

    It's difficult to see how Spain can play their normal game should they come up against a German side that performed like they did in their last two games. What price for a Germany vs Holland final?

  • Comment number 10.

    Over here in Germany I don´t believe many people thought they´d get further than the quarter finals, particularly after their embarrassing friendly defeat against Argentina in March. But they were wise enough to leave their one prima donna Kuryani at home and when they have enough time together they get the best out of their players. They always say they are a tournament team and they´re right.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Germany side, "modelled after the Premier League"? Sorry, Chris, I think you're fooling yourself with that one. Look at vintage footage of any of the successful German side at either the Euros or the WCs and you will see a team that plays a strong, direct & physical style of football that, crucially, can also switch to possession football in the blink of an eye.

    This is not some strange coincidental turn of luck. It is the result of decades of development of a methodology to play the game in the way that reflects their football culture ie the way they believe the game should be played. Just because they had success at international level doesn't mean they have stopped this process of refinement in the arrogant belief that they now know everything there is know about football(but we know of a footballing nation that has, don't we?) and every generation of players is tailored to meet the demands(at international level) of the contemporary footballing world that they are entering into while still maintaining their overall style, as much as they're resources(financial and professional) allow.

    In other words, they have always put in the effort where it matters. Even with all this hard work, there is never any guarantee of success. Without it, however, there is very little chance of being a true contender or competitor.

  • Comment number 12.

    Schweinsteiger was devastating. Best overall performance in the World Cup so far. Villa is close :)

  • Comment number 13.

    Vorsprung durch Technik!

  • Comment number 14.

    you said
    "It was not just the newspapers that were getting carried away either. An English friend of mine who lives in Berlin told me how, after the Socceroos had been put to the sword, the whole country seemed to be celebrating already and apparently the general feeling was that this was their year. "
    I have worked in Hamburg for over 4 years.
    Whilst the media, cetainly the Press(and Das Bild is just like the Sun) went over the top after the first game, I dont think the general population thought the same, tho their expectaions have gradually risen.
    The 2 words I kept hearing last night were unglaublich, wahnsinn= unbelievable, crazy, as the party went in to the early hours.

    Now it will be their year

  • Comment number 15.

    I have been a life-long Holland supporter, but I have to say that there is plenty to admire about the way this German team is playing at the moment. If they can keep that up, victory for them against Spain is more likely than failure. I see another big Holland v. Germany match being played in a weeks' time! ;-)

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm not sure the style of play has been modelled the EPL, but there are similarities, i.e. just resisting wave after wave of pressure and then (not like a few years ago, hoof it and see) counter fast. When I see the first goal though from yesterday you have to say how slopy the defending/keeping was, then Argentina were always on the back foot and had to chase the game which is never good.

    If a team wants to beat Germany they had to avoid an early goal at all costs. Play them at their own game, do not concede soft free kicks in sensitive areas, i.e. just outside the box).
    When the Germans are forced to chase the game they aren't nearly as "ruthless" as they have been made to look by a thoroughly disorganised Argentina.

    Germany's job was made so much easier against England due to England having to chase the goal that was scandalously not given. Germany has always had good organisation, that and a never say die attitude has taken them so far, even if in the past a lot of the success was more attributable to luck (easy draw) or knowing when and where to go down for a free kick.

    Most of the teams do not seem to have a gameplan, especially the ones that have former players as managers (Brazil/Argentina). Germany do, and on last night's evidence Spain will have to pull up their socks, Puyol, for example, has been very poor so far.
    No, if you want to beat Germany, do as they do, put nine men behind the ball and try and catch the opposition on the break.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm sorry if these comments apply to subjects raised on other blog sites, but here goes.
    What we have seen with Germany and to some extent Netherlands, is a direct contradiction of the idea that if you have a Big money league such as the Premiership your national team will also be hugely succesful. The Dutch and the Germans have very good youth development programmes, which then feed their National leagues. The succesful Dutch players then invariably move on to the more lucrative leagues in Spain, England and Italy. Argentina and Brazil also have their top flight players in the "Big money leagues". Then comes the issue of how important is it for your National side to suceed in comparison to your Nation's club sides. I am sure that many big clubs would prefer it if there was no international competition, with the associated risk of injuries to its players. It makes no money for the big clubs but can be risky for its assets. I've noticed a number of Blog posts from fans whose entire perspective is conditioned by their loyalty to a particular club and ignores any issues of National success. Is it more important for Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd etc. to win the Champions League than for England to be succesful?

    Finally, and perhaps related to the last comment is our overall reluctance to look at what other coutries are doing in terms of development, tactics, motivation etc. The Premiership is a massive commercial success, but it is not going to do the things which the FA need to urgently grasp, if England are ever to taste success. Oh ... and well done Germany you were marvellous. I hope you go on to win the whole thing!

  • Comment number 19.

    The German side are "modelled after the Premier League", so you mean England can take the credit for their performance in the WC? Get over it and try watching the Bundesliga next season!

  • Comment number 20.

    The German team is now playing fast and furious premiership/dutch football whereas the England team going back in time playing the old German style football but without the skill.

    Rock & Roll Germany.

  • Comment number 21.

    If I get one pound every time I hear 'what if', I will be one of the dragons. Only losers keep on banging 'what if', stop living in the past.

  • Comment number 22.

    This German team really deserves all the respect and admiration it's getting, but they will soon be found by a team that can actually defend. I don't think anyone here thinks that Germany dominate teams the way, say, Barcelona do; you don't get the feeling that they are invincible. To put it simply, they are beatable.

    This does not take away from the fact that they have played wonderful football, but if you look closely, all Germany have done is defend, defend, defend, and then score with their absolutely devastating counterattacks (I don't think I've seen a better counterattacking side at any level). The notion that Germany have destroyed Argentina is very inaccurate; Argentina had most of the ball, but were completely ineffective with it due to Germany defending with 9 players. Germany, on the other hand, have made the most of the few chances they got. Just look at this:

    Argentina Germany
    20 Shots 18
    5 Corner kicks 4
    2 Yellow cards 1
    0 Second yellow card and red card 0
    0 Red Cards 0
    54% Possession (%) 46%

    Germany England
    17 Shots 19
    4 Corner kicks 6
    1 Yellow cards 1
    0 Second yellow card and red card 0
    0 Red Cards 0
    49% Possession (%) 51%

    What is even more ridiculous (but entirely in keeping with the fickleness of the English media) is that people are now talking about overhauling the whole system to model the Germans. That is just as much the wrong decision as is doing nothing. The bottom line is that every team has to play to its strengths; the difficult part is finding out what that is for any given team.

  • Comment number 23.

    The Germans have been excellent and appear to have benefited from the absence of Ballack. Mueller has been the best of the lot, but their success is because of a group of talented indiiduals, not one ot two stars.

    Having said all that, I think it will be Spain going into the final...though Germany v Holland would be fantastic.

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    #6 This is exatcly the type of view that concerned me having watched yesterdays game.

    Argentina came into this fixture having won all of thier previous matches and being touted by many as potential champions. England won one of thier games, scored 3 times in 4 games and looked in disarray against a German side that barely needed to break a sweat. Argentina genuinely deserved to be at this stage of the competition, England most certainly did not.

  • Comment number 26.

    Australia got beaten 4-0 (with 10 men for a lot of the game).
    England got beaten 4-1 (with a dis-allowed goal)
    Both teams got rubbished in their home countries.
    Argentina, who were starting to look like favourites get put to the sword and suddenly the German team look un-beatable!
    Are they that good or do the other teams simply get ambushed because they expected rather less than they got?

  • Comment number 27.

    Agree with #6 and #9

    Until the Argentina game, I was still undecided about Germany (especially after they lost to Serbia). They looked very good, but I wasn't sure if they were that good.

    For all the media bile, England scored two goals against the Germans, hit the crossbar on another occassion, and had the same number of shots as the Germans. Regardless of whether they were outplayed or not, England scored 2, and had Lampard's second effort been an inch lower, or Gerrard's late chance an inch to the right, England could have had a third and fourth.

    England also were forced to leave their (fourth choice) defence exposed to counter attack in the 68th minute because they were chasing an equaliser (one they had already scored in the 44th minute). I'm not saying England were a better team, I'm just saying A) they created chances, which shows Germany can be vulnerable, and B) that game would have been VERY interesting had Lampard's goal been allowed.

    I'm also taking the Australia result with a pinch of salt. Australia were punished with a very soft red card, and clearly aren't the side they were four years ago. They came within an inch of losing to New Zealand in May.

    That said, they have been very impressive, and I would tip them to go all the way. And unlike in 2002 when they had the easiest route imaginable to get to the final, in order to win this one, they will have beaten England, Argentina, Spain and (I'm betting) Holland. No easy task, and to be winning these games at a canter is impressive.

    My tip to beat the Germans? England's last 3 goals against them were scored by Upson (2) and Terry, and the goal Serbia scored against them was also a fumbled cross. Don't try and attack them down the middle. Get the crosses in. I'm not convinced they can cope all that well with them. Where was Peter Crouch?

  • Comment number 28.

    The German Juggernault was incredible & impeccable.
    This is what Football players of yester years would like to see & enjoy
    in South African Chapter of the FIFA World Cup. We are looking forward to the Germans to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy. All the best.

  • Comment number 29.

    These are words from the secretary of the DFB

    Niersbach says that after his country's early exit from Euro 2000 "the German FA has invested an annual €20m [£16.5m] earmarked for talent promotion in the widest sense of the word. At grassroots level, a nationwide network of 366 training centres has been set up, mostly using the infrastructure of local clubs with above-average facilities, where 14,000 youngsters aged 11-14 receive extra tuition by way of a weekly two-hour training session imparted by a DFB-appointed coach. This is in addition to the training they do with their respective clubs. It is more than likely that some of them will feature in the German national team eight years from now.

    "Further up the line there are 46 club academies. Twenty-nine German further-education schools have been designated Elite Football Schools. Students receive a perfectly normal education, up to the Abitur granting university access, but also benefit from plenty of football as part of the curriculum.

    "Finally we have made sure that all the DFB's junior national teams, from U15 onwards, benefit from basically the same level of support, the backroom staff including a sports psychologist, a physical fitness coach, as well as first-rate doctors and physios. An extensive database has been set up, allowing our coaches to access information – medical data, physical test results, performance analyses, personal characteristics – for every player. Obviously, the underlying purpose of all of this is that no player with good potential shall be allowed to slip through the net."

    What would we give for such a system/

  • Comment number 30.

    It's nice to see so many people congratulating the German team on their success. I lived in England for over 20 years and I can honestly say, I have never seen a German team play such great football. I am very proud indeed. Their passing is excellent and their individual work rate is outstanding. Even when they were down (against Serbia), they played with heart and soul and tried to equalise with 10 men. Looking at the other teams in the WC, I can't see a better side than Germany. The Dutch beat an awful Brasil but they only had one real chance at goal in 90 minutes. The Spanish could have easily lost to a very average Paraguay. And Uruguay a pretty average, too. C'mon Germany!

  • Comment number 31.

    The Germans also know how to read the break of play like a game of chess, but do so instinctively and execute quickly.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think this German side is amazing. Simple football, brilliant! The fourth goal yesterday against Argentina was exquisite. I really hope they go on and win the World Cup because they really deserve it. They took a lot of stick before the tournament, bunch of kids, no experience, no chance. Alan Hansen said they were average, but they are anything but.

  • Comment number 33.

    It's been great fun to watch so far. Was at the Serbia game, whilst the result was a dissapointment the young German team still put in a great perfomance in the face of a ridiculous sending off for Klose.

    Given the Spanish behaviour after the Euro 2008 final we're desperate to beat them.

    Alan Hansen will probably still sneer 'average' about this wonderful team!

  • Comment number 34.

    I watched the Germany-Argentina match at the local pub where most of the punters seem to support Argentina. Being the only German there, I asked why the support for Argentina but I didn't get a straight answer. However, the Argentina supporters were silenced very quickly by the brutal reality of German football excellence. It was a joy to watch. And as to Alan Hansen, who listens to his babble anyway?

  • Comment number 35.

    Cough cough, EPL?? That is, ahem, I think you meant Bundesliga structure sir.

    The Bundes Federation probably has the world's clearest, healthiest FA, who is set up differently for international and club level management. Plus the excellent youth academy programs of course.

    I still think Argentina have probably better individual talent, as do Spain, but the World Cup is not all about that as we know.

  • Comment number 36.

    " Why do they find the net so often? Well, their tactics for a start - and English football should take it as a compliment that they have modelled their high-tempo style on Premier League football. Perhaps Fabio Capello should follow suit?"

    Firstly, they haven't modelled their style on the premiership at all. Many teams play this way in the Bundesliga, that's why the system has worked so well at the WC.
    Secondly why am I not suprised to hear a Brit trying to suggest that the rest of the world has any interest in modelling themselves on what we have to offer? As long as this kind of attitude persists in English fooball, we'd better get used to our enjoyment of international football tournaments being provided by other teams.
    What the Germans have done is proven that football is a team game. They've done the basics well. Pass, move, cover for team mates, play one-twos, defend and break at speed and in numbers.
    My pre-tournament tip was a Holland v Spain final. I'm no longer sure that Spain's over-intricate passing will do the trick against Germany. Up to now - and as an ex-pat living in Germany, it pains me to say it - the Germans have played not only the best but the most effective football at this World Cup.

  • Comment number 37.

    Wow No29, that's brilliant.

    An FA that genuinely cares about it's nation, and people who so can be genuinely proud of their nation.

    Thank goodness Germany beat England. 4-1.

  • Comment number 38.

    Chris,
    Any chance of a response to the majority of posts(at a guess over 90%)that disagree with your assessment.
    in the words of Gervais, are you having a laugh?

  • Comment number 39.

    Going to have go against the trend here and say that I don't think the German team is excellent. Don't get me wrong, I think they're a decent side and definitely one of the better ones in the tournament, but the goals they've scored against England and Argentina have been far more a reflection of English and Argentinian defensive ineptitude than they have of German brilliance. Allowing relatively low balls in to beat an almost non-existent first man, repeatedly failing to keep players back to meet the break, allowing strikers to stroll into the box completely unmarked... it's been more like a couple of comedies of errors than international-standard performances.

    Watching the Argentinian game was a bit deja-vu, it was like Maradona had sat his team down, made them watch the England - Germany game and said, "Now pay close attention to the English defense" - only forgetting to clarify he wanted them to learn what *not* to do.

    Argentina played straight into Germany's approach. Germany close down quickly with multiple players in their own half, and Argentina dwelled on the ball and tried to run it through the crowd instead of moving it about quickly allowing that approach to mostly succeed (when Argentina did pass it quickly, they had no problem getting it to Di Maria - not that he did anything with it). And Germany break quickly (mostly by having a couple of players run from the edge of their box as soon as the ball in is delivered, allowing the defenders to just try and clear the ball in that direction for them to pick up), so the attacking team has to keep enough players back to pick the runners up if they don't want to get caught out. England and Argentina spectacularly failed to do that.

    Germany have just not made me go "wow". Their defense has also seemed pretty shaky, with scrambles in their own box becoming a bit of a regular occurrence.

    Unless Germany take a different approach to their next game, I can see Spain beating them quite comfortably. Spain have the ability to move the ball around fast enough to cope with the German defensive pressure, they have more than enough talent to deliver dangerous balls into the box, and they have the quality in defense to handle the German counter.

  • Comment number 40.

    Let's be honest, we are all hugely surprised that an unfancied German side plays such entertaining football, scoring plenty of goals. After all, no other team has scored more. As to the defensive blunders by England and Argentina, it was quite obvious that the German attacks were at such blistering pace that the defenders didn't get back quick enough. I am 100% certain that they will play exactly the same way against Spain. Passing the ball around the pitch at pace does not automatically result in goals, does it. How many goals have Spain scored? Whoops.

  • Comment number 41.

    #36 No idea why it "pains you" to see a bunch of very young talented players playing excellent football! I am also an ex-pat living in Germany. The people here are great and they have produced a wonderful team that has given me and many other people a lot of enjoyment. We English should just be big enough admit that!

    #39 You sound like Alan Hansen! Enough said I think!

  • Comment number 42.

    One of the few chances Spain had last night was when Xavh took a first time shot & the goal came from a direct run at goal. This direct German team is demonstrating that football is not a complicated game, so this is the end of the road for Spain & if Uruguay want to have a chance, they should get rid of the utterly hopeless Abreu. Everyone said he scored his pen with a dink, but from where I sit he almost missed, in fact the keeper had enough time to get back & make the save. The Dutch without de Jong will find it hard going in midfield. This game is going to extra time at least.

  • Comment number 43.

    So many rivers of ink expended on analysing England's failure and Germany's success, and yet, to my knowledge, no one has made the obvious observation. Boy, how history makes blind men of us. So, why the heck didn't the FA approach LOW to be England's next manager???????????????????

  • Comment number 44.

    There are so many praising articles about the German players, but they often forget to mention the trainer of the Mannschaft, Joachim Loew, who made this all happen. He is a perfectionist in every detail, his dressing, his speech, his communication with the players and his innovative training methods. He is the real superstar, who together with an excellent crew, build this unbelievable team. He has an intoxicating charisma, which has infected the players and many Germans like me.
    If England wants to be on top again, first look for a trainer like Loew with enough power to change what is necessary. Ask yourself, is Capello the right man for a fairy tale, if in doubt look for another, or you will start with a mistake right from the beginning.

  • Comment number 45.

    a lot of people seem to think that germany have already beaten spain. i agree that spain havent hit anywhere near top gear yet in this wc, but thats exactly why im cautious.

    of course its a big if, but if they do, and germany continue to play as they have, then one thing is for sure:

    we could be in for one of the greatest wc semi-finals of all time. heres to hoping!

  • Comment number 46.

    #40: "Passing the ball around the pitch at pace does not automatically result in goals, does it. How many goals have Spain scored? Whoops."

    A) Nothing automatically results in goals, but when you're playing a team that relies more on pressure than positioning passing the ball can be pretty damn effective, and B) Villa is the top scorer in the competition so far and hasn't had the benefit of playing an inept England and Argentina. Whoops.

  • Comment number 47.

    Their positioning is wonderful, particularly in defending. You will see they would have about 8 men behind the ball, but it's a solid structure and they don't stray off too much. Their counter attack is fast and they always looked like scoring. The basics are well hammered into them.

    You could also argue there is quality everywhere - granted that on paper, the likes of Khedira and Muller isn't as well heard as say Gerrard and Lampard, but they perform so much efficiently.

    Their keepers aren't too bad either. The defence may not as be well known but Phillip Lahm is having a stormer. In midfield, with Ozil, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, and Kroos/Marin, it's a wonderful midfield that will perform in the next few years. Podolski Klose and Muller - strikers that will score all the time. With up and coming youngsters, this German team won't be doing too bad in the next WC either.



  • Comment number 48.

    It was nice to see that God kept his hands firmly in his pockets yesterday...

    It must also be so satisfying for Thomas Müller as Maradona walked out of a joint press conference in March before a friendly between the 2 sides when Müller appeared next to him on the stage as Maradona didn't deem him worthy to share a stage with the Argentinian manager, later excusing himself by saying he'd no idea who the man in German strip was. I hope he knows now!

  • Comment number 49.

    #46: I don't think Argentina were inept at all. (England certailny were in the second half.) The Germans showed masterfully, how to eliminate the best player in the world and the Argentinians did not have an answer. Germany scored 13 goals so far and only conceded 2. With all their wonderful but mostly ineffective passing, Spain have been very disappointing. They have to play a lo better if they want to beat aGerman side full of confidence. I hope it's going to be another classic with plenty of goals......from Germany of couse.

  • Comment number 50.

    With the current form of Spain, I can forsee a classic Germany-Holland finale. The last two games of the Germans has been of quick first goals and then swift, devastating counter attack. I wonder how they're gonna react if they concede early. Looking at the controversial England's Second goal (dissallowed), one can continue to debate what would have ensure had the second goal been restored for England, will the Germans still be in their devastating form or will they loose focus? I believe Holland can work on this and curtail them. We are set to witness one of the most fascinating final ever.

  • Comment number 51.

    i have been reading many comments from so called Pundits about the English team in WC2010. Can someone admit that there are some fundamental deficiencies in the way FA is running Premier Leagues first & foremost the top teams don't give any break to English players, coaches like Wenger do not consider English player fit enough to play for his team & fill all french to play , Same with Chelsea, Liverpool( since Rafa came in ). The same so called fab 6-7 Players have been making constant mockery of the faith the nation puts on them but still they continue to figure in every WC / EC Teams for last 8 Years . All have blamed Managers,but if players are not willing to give 100% what can a Capello or Mclaren do? Off course Erickson has never won anything except $$$ for himself every year just look at his latest deal for Ivory Coast , Mclaren has proved that he can do wonders if he gets good Team Example FC Twente.
    So what you want to do with Team ? Give Youngsters a Chance , do away with Shams like Beckhams, Terry unless you want to keep having stars , their Glamorous gossips & keep losing the Battle . Force Teams like Arsenal to play at least 4-6 Players in playing 11 even if it means walkout by like Wengers Or keep tom toming how big is EPL but keep losing the Internationals . The German Team is best example, they had no stars , just a solid group of Youngsters not earning the fat weekly pay checks like Gerrard or Cole , not afraid of injury or fear that injury will cost him the pay loss once back in club . The last reason seems to be the main cause of the pathetic performance.

  • Comment number 52.

    11/ (and a few others) It was actually Jurgen Klinsmann who told me Germany's style of play was modelled on the English Premier League, with the idea being to get the ball to their strikers as quickly as possible.

    It's not down to decades of development either. Klinsmann implemented these changes when he took over as national coach in 2004.

    Germany have obviously modified the Premier League 'style' (which I read as meaning 'fast-paced' rather than the old English stereotype of 'direct') because I can't think of many who play in exactly the way Germany do... although in recent years Man Utd and Chelsea have been lethal breaking forward at pace in the manner of Joachim Loew's side.

    35 & 36? More to come on that. I'm just writing up another Klinsmann interview where he talks about how the Bundesliga is set up to help the national team.

    38/ 90%? Are you sure!?! Still, sorry about the delay in responding. I went to Robben Island this morning to try to learn about the history of Cape Town and South Africa on a rare football-free day. It was a fascinating trip.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think Klose deserves more recognition. He's Klose (pardon the phun) to being the all-time topscorer in a World Cup yet I can't remember seeing any article about him on the BBC website. Surely he deserves more attention then this? What does he need to do to get any attention in the English media?? Yet Ronaldo who flopped in every tournament so far is mentionned in almost every article.

  • Comment number 54.

    Whoever said Ballack is a prima donna has no understanding of German football. It's all about playing as a team for your country and Michael knows this as much as anyone else. Yeah he went to Chelsea for a couple of years but that's about all he did and kudos to him.

    England players don't have the pride or responsibility to play as a team. They would never set each other up like Germany do so the team scores goals and not the individuals. Germany are amazing and everyone who says they are a young team that has still to grow into its full potential must be wondering how strong they will be in 2 years at the European championships and again in 4 when most will still be under 30.

  • Comment number 55.

    52. Chris Bevan

    Ironic that the German team play the "English" style better than the english do. Maybe we should just call it the New German style, and try to emulate it.

    One thing is for sure the German team have the basics which England sorely lack. Great ball control, pace, commitment to the cause, and an absolute and unshakeable belief in each other as a team.
    And to add further admiration, they play the simplest football i've seen in a long time. It looks all so easy.

    All credit to them for observing some aspects of the English style, and then developing it further, as a nation, and building a unified football system quickly as a result, from "birth to death" as the saying goes.
    That adaptability continues to be one of their strengths.

    If only.......

  • Comment number 56.

    #47: "Their positioning is wonderful, particularly in defending."

    I disagree. Just look at how easy it was for Argentina to find Di Maria in space. If Di Maria had looked up and delivered crosses a bit more instead of keeping his head down and trying to run the ball into the box all the time it could easily have been a very different game.

  • Comment number 57.

    #56: Too many ifs and buts Mr Hansen. The game was won by the better side. They could have played all day long and Argentina would not have scored.

  • Comment number 58.

    As far as the critisism for Mr. Bevan suggesting that the German team have modelled themselves on the English Premier league goes, I believe he is only saying what the Germans said themselves. After the England defeat I read the article where some German official/ex-manger/player (I cant remember which)stated exactly that.

    I'd like to see Germany win it now, as they deserve it, but it will be interesting to see how they will cope if they go a goal down and therefore then can't play their counter attacking style of footbal.

    One thing is for sure, when it comes to the World Cup, you can NEVER bet against the Germans.

  • Comment number 59.

    It's kinda strange that English people never seem to be able to accept the reality of the situation unlike other countries even in the face of such overwhelming evidence. You as a nation are simply not good enough. You have one solitary piece of success in the last century which really is nothing to be proud of considering you are the USA of the football world - that was even on home soil which I always think kinda taints winning as it is a lot easier.

    You have tried how many systems - how many managers - how many approaches and you still fail - always. Germany are just a much superior football nation. They are better mentally and in pretty much every single other facet of football and producing quality footballers. Of course immediately your heads will begin to fill up with all of the hype and lies you are told by the tabloids etc and you will enter denial - 'but what about such and such'.. 'oh but we do well in the Champions League' - we must be world class we just have to be. Well have a cold hard honest look at England's international record then have a look at Germany's. There is simply no comeback. There is literally nothing you can point to that can dilute the facts that have been established not over one flighty decade but the entire history of meaningful international competition.

    They own you at your national game end of story. But hey is it it any wonder that is why those pathetic fans resort to bragging about a war? They know they have nothing to sing back about when it comes to football. Fair play to Germany. No matter who they show up with they are always there or thereabouts. As fans who are not lucky enough to belong to such an awesome powerhouse of football all we can do is try and emulate them although I fear that is probably doomed to fail. They simply 'have it' and that as we know cannot be taught or bought.....

  • Comment number 60.

    A vital point overlooked here is the fact that most players in the German team also play together at Bayern Munich, which means that they are used to playing together and can read each other's game very well. After all, it is great teams that win the World Cup, not just great individuals. And as for Spain, well expect Germany to blow in 4 goals past them and tear them to shreds. That may be the best result Spain can hope for if they continue their woeful form.

  • Comment number 61.

    Arathrael,

    You are Alan Hansen aren’t you?

  • Comment number 62.

    For what it's worth. The bundesliga is a very healthy competition. It is also very enjoyable and I would certainly rank it currently above Italy, the EPL. Germany in this world cup have been fantastic, as were Argentina. If Jurgen says they modelled the game in parts on the epl then great, that is a compliment to be noted. Why, because the EPL is now a technical league with the buying of foriegn players since its inception. Sadly, and this is where England get let down against teams like Argentina, Holland, and Germany is the inability to keep the ball and a temprament. See example of Wayne Rooney losing the plot and skill under pressure/expectation. Germany have been so simple at times in this world cup, as have Holland, it has been refreshing. Dunga nearly had the right mix of ball keepers and attackers, Argentina likewise, England not a chance, and Spain i believe complicate things too much with too many passes. Germany dutch final please, and for Europes top clubs to come poaching all the best British talent so they can train em with a sensible level head and will keep them away from the English FA.

  • Comment number 63.

    Villa is the top scorer in the competition so far and hasn't had the benefit of playing an inept England and Argentina.

    ------------------------------------------------------------


    Spain played Chile, Switzerland, and Honduras in the group stage. They just played Paraguay - Paraguay, which got out of its group with one win and two draws.

    And you think that England and Argentina represent "inept" competition compared to that? Spain are the unknown quantity here, the team which has made it this far with the minimum of serious testing.

    Spain won the Euro 2008 final (against Germany) 1-0. So we know they are capable of winning their next match. But this notion that they have been tested so far in this tournament is absurd. They'll need to improve significantly on their performances thus far if they want to reach the finals.

  • Comment number 64.


    "6. At 09:17am on 04 Jul 2010, djdhhuudat wrote:
    Argentina's defeat makes the media's criticism of the England team sound harsh. At least we came close to winning the game against Germany at the end of first half and at the beginning of the second, and we really could have won it if Ferdinand had been playing instead of Upson. Argentina hardly looked like they were going to equalise.

    Anyway, Spain looked benign to me yesterday. They couldn't really dominate the game even though their opponents, Paragoay, were way behind the Germans in both defense and attack. My bet is Germany 2 Spain 0"
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Dont speak utter trullop, If ferdinand was playin it would make no difference, Upson did nothing wrong, if it hadnt of been for him it would have been 4 -0 Germany in that game too.

    JOHN TERRY is to be blame, big headed, arrogant trumpet that he is..........you could have seen a better basic defence performance in any local park on a sunday afternoon!

    Im scottish mind, so im glad you are out, but only because you hype your team up, but in reality u have once again disgraced your country.

    I would like to bet that Scotland, Wales and Ireland, although not as " gifted" with respect to indivual players. Would have put in amuch stonger performance than any of Englands, mainly because we all have passion for the shirt, which was so obviously lacking in that group of clowns you sent to Africa



  • Comment number 65.

    #56 You're missing the point. I'm not saying Argentina (and certainly not England) were the better side. I'm saying Germany were the better side not so much because they were awesome, but because Argentina were tactically and defensively inept.

    #63 Yes, having actually watched those games, I do think England and Argentina represent inept competition compared to those teams simply because that's how they played. Ineptly. So far, in terms of actual performance Serbia and Ghana represent the toughest two opponents Germany have faced so far, and they lost to one (yes, yes, Klose got himself sent off harshly, I know) and struggled to beat the other.

    Seriously guys, if you think a team that allows opponents to make a straight line run into the box effectively unchallenged, with defenders that allows Klose to stroll into the box completely unmarked despite having no-one else to cover, that fails to have a front man to cut out low crosses into the box from a set-piece of all things, a team that continually tries to run the ball into the opponent's box despite the presence of team-mates completely unmarked just waiting for the cross, if you think a team like that is not playing ineptly, you must have way lower standards than I do.

  • Comment number 66.

    Well done Germany :):)
    Spain have had Villa to drag them kicking and screaming through the competition so far. I wonder how well he, Iniesta and Xavi (Spain's best players so far imo) would do if Lahm, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Schweinsteiger and Khedira did a good enough job on them to stop them getting into the game.

    I'm predicting a Germany - Holland final :)

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh, and #63, did you miss Spain beating Portugal?

  • Comment number 68.

    The Argentinians defeated Argentina yesterday… they made a poor start and conceded an early goal. They then tried desperate dribbling and hanging onto the ball for far too long instead of one-touch passing and staying calm. They were pathetic. Germany simply finished the job off… and very effectively too.

    Now everyone's getting carried away about Germany who, good though they are, haven't yet played a top team that is really on form, so let's hope Spain manage to shift into top gear for their showdown… if so, it will be fascinating.

    For me, this tournament has been less about how good Germany are than how poor Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina and some of the African nations were when it really mattered and how disappointing the big games have been. As for England, they surpassed my expectations… I really didn't think they'd make the second round!

  • Comment number 69.

    Arathrael,

    No you are missing the point. Virtually everyone on this site has the good grace to admit that the German team is playing great football. Why cannot you just give this young team some credit? For some reason it is never the Germans playing well it is always the others being inept. This seems to happen a bit too often to be true!

    I think they have been a real breath of fresh air. Having said that I do have the feeling that the Spannish have just been doing enough in this competition........

  • Comment number 70.

    I've enjoyed watching Germany play. They mix up their style, change positions, play with tempo and also defend well. They could have played keep ball against Argentina but looked to keep scoring. They were pushing for a 5th rather than sitting back on a one goal lead.

    This German team is a great side. The match against Spain is going to be a very good game. If Torres is dropped to the bench and Llorente or Fabregas starts then I think they could be a very different prospect to the team we've seen playing so far.

    I'd also like to point out that the Netherlands are playing very well also and I believe that should they overcome Uruguay then they will be hard to beat in the final.

    The remaining games are going to be great!

  • Comment number 71.

    22. At 11:04am on 04 Jul 2010, waldovski wrote:

    " This German team really deserves all the respect and admiration it's getting, but they will soon be found by a team that can actually defend. I don't think anyone here thinks that Germany dominate teams the way, say, Barcelona do; you don't get the feeling that they are invincible. To put it simply, they are beatable."

    Of course they are beatable. Name me a team in history who is / was not. But they have been extremely impressive. And I' m most disappointed - but not in the least surprised - that not one single person has seen fit to mention Ozil's magnificent pass for Kloses's second. Someone could practice that a thousand times and not re-produce it any better.

  • Comment number 72.

    @67 i was at that game and trust me, portugal were diassapoiting. they were content to get ev

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 71 I did say that "The fourth goal yesterday against Argentina was exquisite."

  • Comment number 74.

    I said from the Start of the competition Argentina had no defence and they would be found out, and Also that Maradona had no clue tactically only attack. I was right. I also said Germany would bang in 4 against Argentina, but I figured they were good to get a 4:2 scoreline. Argentina did what I thought they would, 2:0 down the gave up, collapsed, stop believing. I find it amazing that the world cup is the stage of football and 8 of 10 managers who fail at the world cup resign, Capello and Maradona still hanging on. When they have a record like Dungas then perhaps they could consider hanging around a bit.

  • Comment number 75.

    As impressed as I have been with Germany, just look at the goals scored against England and Argentina. 7 out of the 8 goals really should have been prevented. I am eager to see how Germany shape up against a team that can defend.

  • Comment number 76.

    "53. At 2:01pm on 04 Jul 2010, Fizmo1337 wrote:

    I think Klose deserves more recognition. He's Klose (pardon the
    phun) to being the all-time topscorer in a World Cup yet I can't
    remember seeing any article about him on the BBC website. Surely he
    deserves more attention then this? What does he need to do to get
    any attention in the English media?? Yet R onaldo who flopped in
    every tournament so far is mentionned in almost every article."

    Klose is German! The question should be what do we need to do?

    England is essentially parochial in it's view of football, only really concerned with the premier league, and it's teams' European adventures.

    Combine this parochialism with England's outdated attitude to Germany in general, which was demonstrated so abominably by the English fans booing the German anthem before the England-Germany game, and you see why Klose is out-with the blinkered mind of the English media and fans alike.

    Perhaps when we all start living in today's world and not our grandfathers, we will accept excellence from Germany as we do from elsewhere.

  • Comment number 77.

    People have been saying Germany have looked weak defensively, well so have Spain, they looked far from solid at the back vs Paraguay and could easily have lost the game. Casillas hasn't looked great in goal and Puyol is prone to errors and with Torres continuing to underperform Germany have a good chance of making the final.

    I've also loved that Klose has got 14 goals in World Cups now and hes been fantastic and I have no doubt had he not had a one game suspension that he would have scored more goals and be atleast level with Ronaldo's record. I hope he scores vs Spain and then again in the final!

    Klose > Olic....

    Goodluck Germany!

  • Comment number 78.

    Let's not forget that the German league used this poor excuse for a football throughout their season. I wonder how much this has helped them.
    Perhaps the English FA should do the same before all future tournamets or will they lose too much money???

  • Comment number 79.

    The Germans have been playing with this ball for a whole season. The Germans look like the only team that are 100% comfortable with it. The Germans have been simply awesome compared to the rest of the nations. Coincidence?

    I'm not going to defend professionals on a truck load of money from England, we'd have lost to this Germany with a Premier League Nike ball we were so abject, but I can't help but feel that this tournament has been ruined by FIFA once again - if Messi is struggling to stop a ball going into Row Z, you know something is wrong.

    Whilst on FIFA's case ... What happened to bookings for diving, or 'card waving' gesticulations at the referee?

    For the love of football Blatter, just go!

  • Comment number 80.

    It is true, that Klinsmann thought of the fast, one-touch premierleague style, when he in 2004 designed his team for the 2006 World Cup.

    But it is also true, that this fast playing 4-4-2 with two strikers was found out in the following years, and the 4-5-1 Barca shortpass system got en vogue. And Germany had there problems every time, when they faced a 5 player midfield.

    As Löw took over in 2006, he looked for an answer, even thinking abot a 3-5-2, as playing with 2 strikers was almost as sanctual for a german nationalteam, as playing 4-3-3 was for Holland.

    After losing to 4-5-1 Croatia in the 2008 Euro and facing a KO game against fancied Portugal with a 5 man midfield either, he for the first time changed to a 4-5-1 by changing Podolski's role from striker to winger and leaving Klose alone upfront. And that worked great, even without having the best players for every position in this new system.

    The following years Germany had a problem to find a ruthless single striker, as Klose was during his carreer always at his best, when he could assist a second forward. Big hopes were on Mario Gomez, but he did not deliver until now. The other big problem was, that after Bernd Schneider got a carreer ending back injury, the german player pool did not deliver a right winger of international class. Schweinsteiger could be used there, as he can adapt to any midfield position, but he lacks the pace to be a top winger.

    Allthough, after Frings got older, Schweinsteiger was planned to get the second centre midfield job on Ballacks side, but this could not be done, until a propper right winger was found.

    Luckilya Louis van Gaal took over at Bayern. He wanted to play with a combination of playmaker and forward on the number 10 position, and found a educated right winger in the Bayern youth academy, Thomas Müller.
    Van Gaal switched him to Bayerns playmaker and deep lying second striker, connecting between Ribery and Robben on the wings and Klose, Gomez or Olic on the front.

    And LvG thought that Schweinsteiger, educated as central midfielder in the Bayern youth academy but played as winger for years, now was old enough to take the team leading spot in the centre.

    So, what we now have is: a mix of LvG possession game a la Barca, Klinsmanns one touch a la Arsenal, german passing game, and germa 2 striker tradition.

    In principle, the tactical structure of germany is 4-2-3-1, like Spain or Barca, but: we neither play ticki tacka shortpass, nor english hoof ball. We play, let me say, middle long passes, flat and very fast.

    And we play without real wingers, but 3 strikers, while 2 of them do the duties as wingers as well. That means, if the attack is played on the left wing, the right winger enters the box and acts as second striker, and vice versa.

    That forces the opponent to field their defense as if they would play against 4-5-1 in the first phase of an attack, and 4-2-2-2 in the second phase.

    And Germany found a tactical structure, that combines the benefit of having a 5 man midfield, of having 2 defensive centre midfielders, of having a playmaker, with the benefit of the 4-4-2 of having two strikers in the box.

    And that is only possible, because 5 players play double roles and are able to do it.

    Schweinsteiger and Khedira play defensive mids as well as box-to-box players, Lahm plays fullback as well as winger, Müller and Podolski play winger as well as striker.

    So, EPl as modell for Klinsmann was true, but now we are a few years of evolution further, combined Bayern, Arsenal and Barca, and may have found a new german style, that may at this point in football history be the new en vogue system until the next step is done as reaction anywhere else.

  • Comment number 81.

    I cannot believe the amount of people who claim that the Germans are just a defensive team who hit their opponents on the counter late in the game. What struck me was how quick they stared the game, creating chance after chance. They could have been 4-0 against us before we scored, time and again slicing through our defence like it wasn't even there. Argentina were completely overwhelmed for the first twenty minutes and should have been 2-0 down if Klose had been able to put away that great chance set up by Muller.

    After that, they nullified their opponents attacks and picked them off with devastatingly quick and accurate attacks. They are able to defend in numbers and then pour forward in numbers. All this shows me that the team is able to adapt different styles during a game to suite what is needed at that moment.

    Another thing that impressed me hugely, which is rarely mentioned so far, is the off the ball movement (both attacking and defending). This has allowed the man on the ball to always have several options and it creates space for others to run into and subsequently at backtracking defenders, which most of them hate. All this is done with an incredibly high tempo and controlled directness.

    Like many other Englishmen, I have really warmed to this German team this WC. They play great football, don't seem to be riddled with egomaniacs and make football look joyful and easy. I doubt playing in such a style is easy, but the way they have ripped teams apart makes it appear as such. Of course they have their vulnerabilities and of course they can be beaten, but for me they have definitely been the most admirable team of the tournament. The games against Spain and potentially the Netherlands should be crackers.

    I assume I'm not the only one from the England in the same position, but I hope for the first time ever that the Germans win the WC.

  • Comment number 82.

    Also want to add that their movement pulls apart a teams defensive shape making them look bad. Although we (England) and Argentina may not have had the best defences, part of it was also due to the way the Germans attacked us. Except the first goal against us. Comedy defending by Upson and World Class Terry.

  • Comment number 83.

    Well done Germany. I can't see anyone denying them the World Cup on this form. I'm eagerly awaiting a potentially mouthwatering semi final between Germany and Spain. As a neutral, I hope it won't be too one sided.

  • Comment number 84.

    The punters in the pub I was in also seemed to be leaning towards Argentina. When I asked why one guy said, "they play more attractive football than the Germans who just get the job done" which I thought went to show how diificult national stereotypes can be to shift as for me the German team has been a delight to watch so far and I was completely rooting for them. However I do agree with some of the posters here that the margin of victory in the last two games hides the fact they were both much closer than the score-lines suggested. England and Argentina both gave away soft early goals and then were stung by fantastic counter-attacking with only one solitary holding midfielder trying to stem the tide. Had either got level or their noses in front I think Germany would have found their style much harder to impose and they have given away many chances in all their games. I think it will be close but I think if Spain play solid and conservative early on then they will have enough to edge the semi.

    As for those who rudely insulted the author after he mentioned the modelling on the EPL (which anyone who saw Man Utd or Chelsea see of Arsenal this year will agree there were similarities to the German style in this tournament) can you not at least hold your hands up now it is clear he wrote this after a discussion with a good source rather than some arrogant English wish to take credit as some seem so deseperately to want to believe?

  • Comment number 85.

    "I would like to bet that Scotland, Wales and Ireland, although not as " gifted" with respect to indivual players. Would have put in amuch stonger performance than any of Englands, mainly because we all have passion for the shirt"

    (Supposed) passion for the shirt's got you a long way up to now hasn't it?

    I love the fact Celts accuse us of being arrogant and deluded then come out with crud like that. Love to have seen you against USA, The African champs Algeria and Russia's conqueror's Slovenia. I'm sure you'd have breezed to the quarter final like Craig Brown says.

  • Comment number 86.

    I have said this all along about the germans they dont get the credit as an attacking force. They are always sterotyped as effecient determined etc. Some teams like spain can overpass germany are direct and all their players are suited perfectly to their way of play. They were like this in the last world cup the only difference was they ran into a good italian team as clever as they were. I have to say Thomas Mueller has surprised me what a shame he has to be suspended for the semi.

  • Comment number 87.

    Usual garbage here from england fans about the ball. Well here's some news, bright boys, in a football match, both sides play with the same ball! Amazing, isn't it? And England had exactly the same access to the ball before the World Cup as every other country. So what are you all moaning about? Bad losers, worse winners, top whingers, as always.

  • Comment number 88.

    Chris, Germans have been pretty good, partly because no one has tested their defence yet. Germans have had possession at will, Spain would have noticed that and will make amends for their performance against Paraguay.

    GO SPAIN!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    From what I've been reading today, the rapid and remarkable emergence of young German talent is because the clubs and national federation have worked together to develop and nurture talent from early on.
    Another reason why England will never apsire to such footballing heights, as the PL clubs take a very narrow view on things. Oh well when's the first Grand Slam Sunday (or whatever Sky are calling hyped up tripe this season)?

  • Comment number 90.

    Nr 54, Mr Creosote
    nobody said Ballack was a prima donna. He´s been Germany´s most important player in the last 10 years and always gives his best.

    Kuryani is the prima donna and Löew, ever a talented psychologist ignored a media campaign and left him at home.

  • Comment number 91.

    #18
    Do your research, the Bundesliga beat the Premier League for the richest league in the world last season, again..........

  • Comment number 92.

    It seems to be forgotten now but against England - Germany could have been 3-0 up which had nothing to do with counter attacking football.
    Germany created chances for Oezil and Klose (who should have made it 3-0) from general play - certainly not in a counter attacking way.
    Against Serbia when they were down to ten men - they had to chase the game against opponents who were sitting back protecting their slim lead.
    Podolski missed a penalty and also two clear chances. Against Ghana they took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and got the necessary win. So they can control a game and attack if necessary or sit back and defend and counter.

    Germans are in disbelief after yesterday's performance.
    Many felt (and might still do) that the best is yet to come.
    Toni Kroos is always considered the most talented young player in the squad - both he & Marko Marin had better Bundesliga performances in 2010 than Oezil.
    Many also felt young defenders Matt Hummels and Benedikt Howedes should have been in the squad. The Bender brothers also look promising midfield players - not to mention goalkeeper Rene Adler who is out injured.
    Gonzalo Castro and Andreas Beck are promising young full backs.
    Not to mention the 5 players in the current team who are under 23.

    And the other 6 more experienced players in the current team - 4 of these are 25/26 years who will be around in 2014 along with current squad members Kiessling & Gomez, and injured players Rolfes & Helmes.

    It is safe to say Germany has talent.

  • Comment number 93.

    #56, Who the heck was Di Maria supposed to find in the box with those crosses you say he should have made? Germany are much taller in the back than any of Argentina's forwards.
    Maybe Maradona should have thought about bringing in Diego Milito to change things up. But it looked like the Argentines were too shocked by the pace and directness of the German attack and counter to come up with any kind of response.
    Still surprised that Maradona did not see the need to make some changes up front before it was too late.

  • Comment number 94.

    Germany have an amazing record in getting to the semi finals in the world cup. This is the third time in a row (2002, 2006 & 2010)

    They also achieved this feat in 1966, 1970 & 1974 - and - in 1982, 1986, 1990.

    Truly amazing.

  • Comment number 95.

    Some statistics:
    Germany has just surpassed Brazil in semifinal participation:

    12 x Germany vs 11 x Brazil .

    And German tabloid BILD reports BAYERN MUNICH boasts to be the tournament's top hotshot club: Germany and Holland players make up
    11 BAYERN players in the semifinal.

  • Comment number 96.

    It would be interesting to see what happens if Germany go behind against Spain. When it happened against Serbia, they lost, although I accept they were unlucky.

    They have been an outstanding counter attacking team.

  • Comment number 97.

    Go, Spain go ! Go home! ;-)

  • Comment number 98.

    #80: How long did it take you to write that garbage? Let's all agree please: Germany played football, no other team has!!

  • Comment number 99.

    However much anyone likes or loathes the German football team, one thing that can be said of Joachim Loew's team is that they have brought some excitement and flare to what has largely been the dullest and boring World Cup in recent times.

    After the German unification in 1990, during the first half of the 1990's, the German team were certainly one of the best national teams in the World culminating their their Euro 96 success. After that for over 10 years, the Germans had a few good players but were not the force that caused too much concern for their opposition. I believe their low point came at the start of the millenium, not only because England beat them in Euro 2000 and their 5-1 thrashing in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, but after reaching the final in the 2002 World Cup, the Germans have come back as a force to be reckoned with.

    They have as a minimum despite this low point since the 1960's always reached the knock-out stages at least reaching the quarter finals. They have proved in the 2010 World Cup that the new generation German team is a reflection of their past success and have definitely raised the bar for International football. This German team will dominate European and World Cup tournaments probably for the remainder of this decade.

    The crushing defeat of England on 27th June and Argentina on 3rd July sends out a clear message to all International teams that to succeed and beat them, they must take the Germans on at their own game.

    By raising the bar, hopefully tournaments will be more exciting in the future rather than this dull and defensive play because the Germans have now set the standard to ripping defences apart.

  • Comment number 100.

    It could be the ball though.....If you look closely in HD, it is definitely not round.....could be the altitude.....or is it the TV? Or is there alcohol involved? Surely, even the pessimist can see that German football is fun to watch. Der Geist ist mit uns. C'mon Deutschland!

 

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