Germany 'major players for years to come'

13:51, Jul 15 2014
World CUp final fans
A fan holds up a replica trophy.
World Cup fans
Argentinian and German fans party together in the stands.
Football World CUp fans
Argentinian fans chest can't get enough.
Football fans
Argentinians of all ages get into the fun.
Football fans
Ann-Kathrin Brommel, girlfriend of Mario Gotze of Germany, looks on.
Football fans
Lena Gercke, girlfriend of Sami Khedira of Germany, supports her man.
Football fans
Don't mention the moustache.
Football fans
Model Gisele Bundchen *hearts* football.
Football fans
Germany all the way.
Football fans
German fans wear their colours.
Beckhams
David Beckham and his boys Brooklyn Beckham, left, Cruz Beckham, second right, and Romeo Beckham.
Football fans
Mr World Cup, Pele, former Brazilian international Kaka and David Beckham.
World Cup final
An Argentina fan looks on nervously at the Maracana stadium.
World Cup final
Tens of thousands of people have gathered near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to watch the final on a big screen.
World Cup final
There was only one team they wanted to win.
World Cup final
Rocking football fan Mick Jagger was at the Maracana.
World Cup final
The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro was host to the World Cup final with over 70,000 in attendance.
Argentina fans
Football fans gathered in Buenos Aires to watch the World Cup final react after Argentina lose to Germany.
World Cup final
Germany fans party at the Maracana after their team won the World Cup.

That Germany deserved to win the World Cup - albeit narrowly, with a sensational extra-time winner - cannot really be gainsaid.

Joachim Loew's side was unbeaten, and won six of its seven games. The only blemish came in a thrilling group game, when it drew 2-2 with Ghana.

It got to the World Cup final without the necessity of penalties to decide a match, and it only required extra time once, in the round of 16 against Algeria, to progress.

Miroslav Klose and Martin Demichelis
Martin Demichelis heads the ball away from Germany's Miroslav Klose.
Miroslav Klose and Martin Demichelis
Argentina's Lionel Messi and Germany's Mats Hummels jump for the ball.
Hansi Flick and Joachim Loew
Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick and coach Joachim Loew look on nervously in the first half.
Hansi Flick and Joachim Loew
Argentina's Marcos Rojo and Germany's Thomas Muelle fight for the ball.
World Cup final
Gonzalo Higuain's strike on goal that went in was disallowed when the referee's offside flag went up.
World Cup final
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero leaps for the ball.
World Cup final
Chaos in the goal-mouth as Argentina attackers desperately look for their first goal.
World Cup final
Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes's header right on the halftime whistle hit the woodwork.
Benedikt Hoewedes
And there it is... off the woodwork.
World Cup final
Germany goalkeeper beaten, but Argentina still unable to find a way through opponent's desperate defence in the first half.
Lionel Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi lines up a kick.
World Cup final
Bodies were flying everywhere as the final gathered intensity late in the second half.
World Cup final
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer collides with Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain as he punches the ball clear.
World Cup final
The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro was host to the World Cup final with over 70,000 in attendance.
World Cup final
Germany's Andre Schuerrle and Argentina's Pablo Zabaleta fall on the pitch while fighting for the ball.
World Cup final
Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger urges his team on.
World Cup final
It was neck-and-neck at 0-0 when Germany's Miroslav Klose jumped for the ball with Argentina's Sergio Aguero.
World Cup final
Argentina's Sergio Aguero and Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger both have their eyes on the ball.
World Cup final
Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger reacts as he falls on the pitch past Argentina's Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi during extra time.
World Cup final
Lionel Messi's accidental impersonation of Rio's Cristo Redentor failed to curry favour with the referee.
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger reacts after drawing blood in extra time.
Mario Goetze
Mario Goetze's World Cup winning strike.
Mario Goetze
Mario Goetze celebrates with teammates scoring late in extra time.
Football World Cup final
Mario Goetze of Germany scores the winning goal past Argentina's keeper, Sergio Romero.
Football World Cup final
German goal-scorer Mario Goetze, left, celebrates with teammate Jerome Boateng.
Football World Cup final
Mario Goetze's winning goal.
Football World Cup final
Mario Goetze, right, celebrates his winning goal with teammates.
World Cup final
It's a man-mountain of man-love as Germany players pile on in celebration.
World Cup final
World Cup winner Mario Goetze celebrates with his girlfriend Ann-Kathrin Brommel.
World Cup final
Germany players celebrate winning the World Cup.
World Cup final
Germany: 2014 football World Cup champions.
Mario Goetze
World Cup match-winner Mario Goetze celebrates.
Bastian Schweinsteiger
A World Cup winning moment for Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Germany fans at Maracana Stadium go crazy as their team lifts the trophy.
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Not to be out done by his players, Germany coach Joachim Loew holds the trophy aloft.
Manuel Neuer
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer leads a podium celebration.
Manuel Neuer
Germany players lead a cheer with fans at the Maracana after winning the World Cup.
Lionel Messi
Germany's Manuel Neuer and Argentina's Lionel Messi accept their respective goalkeeper and player of the tournament World Cup awards after the final.

And of course, it will forever be remembered not just for winning this tournament, dubbed by many to be the best World Cup ever, but for smashing seven past Brazil in the semifinal, quite the most extraordinary result in the history of the game.

In one fell swoop Germany displayed its credentials as worthy champions in that game, and also laid bare the paucity of this Brazilian side - in the process, perhaps for generations, destroying the image of invincibility that Brazil always took with them on to the pitch, home or away.

It was the first time since 1975 that Brazil had lost a competitive match at home, and the impact could be seen just days later when the Selecao collapsed once more, losing tamely to Netherlands by a 3-0 scoreline in the third-placed play-off.

Advertisement

 Mario Goetze
YOUNG LOVE: Germany's Mario Goetze, aged 22, kisses the World Cup trophy.

Now Germany will be the team with the target on their back, the country that everyone wants to beat.

They will be expecting that, not just in the next World Cup in Russia four years hence, but at the next European Championships in France, in two years time.

But there is every reason to expect this German side to simply get better, which is a daunting thought for all those seeking to depose them.

Of the starting line up in the final only veteran striker Miroslav Klose (36) and captain Philipp Lahm (30) were not in their 20s.

Goalscorer Mario Goetze has just turned 22, Thomas Mueller is 24, Mesut Ozil is 26, Toni Kroos 24, Jerome Boateng 25, Andre Schurrle 24 and several of the bench players are even younger.

This is a German team that, if it stays injury free and focused on the job in hand, can be major players for years to come.

They have built on the legacy of previous tournaments and are reaping the rewards of a youth policy begun early in the century after a disappointing 2004 European Championships.

Jurgen Klinsmann, who coached Die Nationalmannschaft in the 2006 World Cup, which they hosted, opted for a change of style. Germany remained professional, concentrated and efficient, their hallmarks, but they also embraced flair and adventure and went for more technical players.

They also began to reap the rewards of the German immigration policy, a number of players who were the sons of ''new Germans'' coming through to the upper echelons of the game and making the national team.

They finished third in 2006, losing in a thrilling semifinal to Italy.

It was a similar story in 2010 in South Africa. Germany put four past England and four past a rather different Argentina en route to a semi final loss to Spain, the eventual winners, before taking third spot with a win over Uruguay in the play off.

That team, coached by Loew (Klinsmann's assistant in 2006) introduced talents like Muller and Ozil, and they, and their colleagues, have blossomed into the unit that has triumphed in Brazil.

It is a testament to the development system in the country  and the strength of the Bundesliga. Nine of the team that started against Argentina play in their domestic competition.

It is also a tribute to Low, who has been part of the national programme for a decade and has guided, selected, nurtured and developed these young players to the point where they are now world champions. Deservedly so.

Deutschland Uber Alles - at least for now. But the football world moves so quickly nothing can be taken for granted. And the Germans, least of all anyone, know that.

Sydney Morning Herald