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Why Germany's Semifinal Romp is 14 Years in the Making

In an article for Bloomberg Businessweek, contributor Brendan Greeley points out that Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the World Cup semifinal is 14 years in the making. Following Germany’s embarrassing first-round exit at the Euro 2000 championship in the Netherlands and Belgium, the German soccer federation (DFB) launched a concerted effort to find, nurture and develop the country’s soccer talent. The result, Greeley says, is what you saw against Brazil on Tuesday.

The idea was to train young talent and get it attached to a professional team early. To a certain extent, all countries do this, Greeley says: Belgium and certain clubs in Spain are noted for doing this quite well, but you could argue that after Tuesday, nobody does it better than the Germans.

What stands out about the German program is that the DFB centralizes the process of finding and developing the talent, and then farming it out to professional teams. The program starts teaching the same skills to 6-year-olds all over the country by coaches licensed by the DFB. By the age of 8, scouts are watching for kids good enough to enter their club programs, which are a sort of soccer high school. From there, they become professional players.

Germany also spends considerable sums on youth development: between 2002 and 2010 the amount spent on youth development doubled to 85 million euros ($116 million). The result has been players like Thomas Muller (24), Toni Kroos (24), Andre Schurrle (23), Mesut Ozil (25) and Mats Hummels (25), all of whom featured in Tuesday’s 7-1 rout.

Read the whole story at Bloomberg Businessweek »

2 comments about "Why Germany's Semifinal Romp is 14 Years in the Making ".
  1. David V, July 9, 2014 at 7:49 p.m.

    A VICTORY FOR FOOTBALL... the Germans have been chasing the Spanish for 6+ years... lost to them in Euro 2008, knocked out in the semis in 2010WC by the spanish, saw them destroy Italy in the final of Euro 2012, after being knocked out by Italy... When Spain won the Euro2008, and especially WC2010, remember (not that long ago), most of the world had been playing, as Cruyff likes to say "anti-football"... a big brutalizing, defensive affair... the world's game had turned ugly and Spain's WC victory was heralded as a Victory for football... the best team won, with an attacking creative mentality... Brazilian great Tostao, amongst several greats from yesteryear has said that this 2014 cup has been most enjoyable due to that renaissance which the Spanish started...most of the large teams, all at one point or another, said they would follow suit, they would take their queue from Spain, and become more creative, emulate the Spanish style...teams like Italy (good on them the last 4 years), England, the USA, etc, etc, etc., and including England... Germany did follow suit... they got rid of Mike Ballack (remember him stomping all over Xavi's feet during the Euro 2008 final? a Brute, the wrong kind of player, done with...) ... Bastian Schweinsteiger said he would study and emulate Xavi, which he did, the list goes on, and on... all the time, Jogi Low has been a humble man, showing grace in defeat, but working to implement that style, and helping his players to develop and mature... this has become a Germany that I could support and appreciate, not since the days of Kaiser Franz have I enjoyed so much this Germany... Brazil, on the other hand, and for whatever reason (do they not have the players they once had, or is it the less creative, flowing style of football most of their players now play in the English premier league that is part of the demise of what the world came to love about Brazil? or perhaps a bit of both), chose an ugly combative type of football (perhaps like the Dutch against the Spanish in 2010, after Cruyff told van marwijk that they could not beat spain) perhaps Scolari adopted this approach because he knew his team had no chance on the skill level (ANYONE who knows football could see this was a subpar team for years, and the ONLY reason why they were in the conversation about being champions was because of their history and because of the geography of 2014)... This is NOT and has NOT been the Brazil the world fell in love with in the late 50s, 60s, 70s, and the early 80s... Big Phil has been a big Jerk (compare him to Jogi Low and Vicente Del Bosque in both victory and defeat), the fans were vitriolic... what a tale of two countries...what a flip in headlines... "Creative Germans destroy way-over-their-heads Brazilian Thugs!!!" Part 1/2

  2. David V, July 9, 2014 at 7:50 p.m.


    Good on Germany... the route they took, was good for them, and it is good for football... One can only hope a creative, attacking team wins the Argentina-Holland game... let's hope the Dutch thugs on 2010 with their Kung-Fu kickers remain either on the bench or out of the psyche Take note folks... including the USA... get away from hunker-down-and-hope-to-survive hunker down, brutal football, it lost again, yesterday. Germany's victory yesterday, was a win for world football ..... (a footnote would be that Pep Guardiola has helped many of these German players with his philosophy instilled at Bayern Munich-further helping along German national team players playing for Bayern)... the game is about possession, about creativity, about attacking (and yes of course organization too, but NOT organization alone, mixed in with thuggery)

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