Commentary

How poised is Germany to repeat World Cup win?

It’s remarkable how poorly World Cup champions have performed at the tournament four years later. Can Germany end the trend?

Three of the last four World Cup champions have failed even to survive group play. Not since 1962, when Brazil pulled it off, has a nation successfully defended its world title.

Most recently, Spain, after winning the 2010 World Cup (and the 2012 Euro) was eliminated after its first two group games.

Italy won the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but four years later, in South Africa, finished last in Group F.

2002 World Cup champion Brazil fared better in 2006, reaching the quarterfinals, where it lost to France.

At the 2002 World Cup, defending champion France finished last in Group A.

And now we come to Germany, which qualified for Russia 2018 in recording-setting fashion, winning all 10 of its games while outscoring its foes 43-4. The best previous run in European qualifying came from Spain, 10-0-0 and 28-5 goals.

Optimism bounds in Germany for good reason: The rise of promising young talent since the 2014 World Cup.

Last summer, Germany won the Confederations Cup with the youngest squad at the tournament while resting a slew of veterans, including world champs Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, and the central defensive duo of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.

Also last summer, Germany won the U-21 European Championship, despite the fact that six players eligible for that tournament were part of its Confederations Cup squad. That’s not including the 21-year-old Manchester City star Leroy Sane, a Schalke 04 product, who was injured.

Just how deep is the German national team player pool was demonstrated in World Cup qualifying when 37 players -- the most in German World Cup qualifying history -- saw action for Coach Joachim Löw.

Only 24 players saw action in Germany’s 10 qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

“The coach has for the World Cup a wealth of personnel like never before,” says the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Players who have debuted for Germany since the 2014 World Cup and considered likely to make the roster for Russia 2018 include:

• Bayern Munich attack-minded defender Joshua Kimmich (22 years old), who started all 10 qualifiers.

• Forward Timo Werner, the Confederations Cup Golden Boot winner, at age 21 has scored 26 goals in 37 Bundesliga games and six goals in eight appearances for Germany.

• The 22-year-old Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka, who has scored six goals in 12 games for Germany.

• Outside back/defensive midfielder Jonas Hector.

There’s also Sane, 21-year-old winger Julian Brandt, 22-year-old winger Serge Gnabry and 23-year-old midfielder Emre Can and 28-year-old forward Lars Stindle.

Since the 2014 World Cup, defender Philipp Lahm, forward Miroslav Klose and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger have retired from national team play.

Germany’s 2014 squad was the sixth youngest at the World Cup with an average age of 26.31. It included Julian Draxler, who made one appearance as a sub. Now age 24, the Paris St. Germain winger has 38 caps and was Confederations Cup Golden Ball winner.

“The players who will make the [World Cup squad] must at that point be at the highest level and must at any time, at every minute and second bring forth a top effort when they’re called upon,” said Löw. “That’s the basis on which were working.”

Loew has the luxury of building a squad with a healthy balance of youth and experience.

Spain staying too loyal to the veterans who won two Euros and the 2010 World Cup has been cited as a reason for its demise at the 2014 World Cup, where with an average age of 28.24 Coach Vicente del Bosque fielded the tournament’s eighth oldest squad.

“Do not believe that we’re the only ones with very good players,” said Löw. “The other nations have also improved development unbelievably and are determined. Even us as world champions must reinvent and redefine ourselves.”

5 comments about "How poised is Germany to repeat World Cup win?".
  1. ROBERT BOND, October 11, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

    saw the B team in Nuenrberg v San Marino-the depth is incredible. Olympic team down to U17 all amazing.... wonder if their training is computer based cicles v triangles...

  2. Nick Daverese, October 11, 2017 at 10:16 a.m.

    They can win it again. IF their game plan is the same as the last time. Their team was basically made up from the two best teams in Germany Dortmund and Bayern Munich so they can play as a team very familiar with each other. The balance was made up of the rest especially the best strikers. They could play a lot of different was not just one or two ways. They also had the best sweeper/keeper in the world. It was like playing against 12 players not 11. Do that again they can win the WC again.

  3. Kris Spyrka, October 12, 2017 at 11:33 a.m.

    Best coaches, best federation, best supporters, best national squad configuration, bar none.  We would have done better to copy them wholesale.  Their federation playbook as been online since 2014 for anyone to look at, even translated to English.  And no, hiring Klinsmann was not the same, he was a washout in their program.  To this day Uli Heoness regrets hiring him for Bayern.  As he put, "we chalked that one up to experience."

  4. Nick Daverese, October 12, 2017 at 3:49 p.m.

    Germany does a lot of things that I find interesting.

    In Berlin there is a shortage of football fields. Although in every play ground there is an enclosed fenced in mini soccer field. They are actually clearing out cemeteries and making football fields over them. Evidently most Germans are cremated now. That is not a joke that’s real.

    I myself want to be buried at my soccer field it is illegal here, but if there is a Will there is a way. Or I could be cremated and my ashes poured on the field. Why, because I will not miss any games just because I am dead.

    When there youth teams play in Germany their stadiums are full. Not with adults they work but with school kids they are bused in to see games. I love that my 8 yr old Grandson Henry got bussed in to see them

    . Klinnesman was a fantastic player but I was not a fan as a coach for a lot of reasons.

  5. Ben Myers, October 13, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.

    Yes, Germany is poised. Loaded and locked, too.  'Nuf said.

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