ROAD TO KOREA/JAPAN
|Germany had a rocky road to the finals. They started off well with
easy wins, but stumbled against England 5-1 when they could have secured qualification. Instead they needed a
play-off against Ukraine to book their tickets to Korea/Japan.
here for details
|Participations: (14) 1934, 1938,
1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998
|Best placing: Winners 1954, 1974 and 1990
|Topscorer: Gerd Müller,
detailed history information
|Oliver Kahn is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world
today and the undoubted leader of the German team. 'King Kahn' is powerfully built, very temperamental and possesses
great all-round abilities as a goalkeeper.
VERDICT: Through to KO stage
|Germany's team - although lacking major profiles - is solid through and through. A progress to
the next round is expected by fans at home and also by us. German football seems to be improving
again at least judged by some recent friendly results after the England-massacre.
WORKING THEIR WAY BACK TO THE TOP
by Ruud Doevendans
German soccer is in an impasse, but they are fighting their way back. Euro
2000 was a huge disaster, as was the World Cup in France. Four years earlier
in the USA, was not much better. In between, surprisingly, Germany still
won the European Championship but the way in which they did it, let us
already see what they were short of: pure quality. Where are the Overaths,
the Netzers, the Breitners, or even the Brehmes, Matthäus’ and Klinsmanns?
Not to speak about the Beckenbauers? They are just not there. Germany these days
has no “Spitzenspieler”, they must just hope they can build a
“Spitzenmannschaft”. And that’s no impossibility.
On first sight, they drew an easy group but they must beware of the fact
that the Irish are going to make it hard for any team. Holland knows what it
means when you underestimate them. Germany should be able to beat Cameroon,
because normally they make less mistakes than the Africans, and that’s
mostly the way Germany win their games. But now it can be different:
Cameroon has a lot of players who grew up in European top-competitions:
Lauren at Arsenal, Song in England and Italy, Kalla, Eto’o and Geremi in
Spain. Mboma in Italy. These guys know what it takes at the highest level.
So it can be close. Even for a nation like Germany.
Who are the best players of this team? Two. Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn is widely
mentioned as the best on the planet. To me, that tells more about the other
candidates than about Kahn, but this is true: he is a good goalie. The other
honourable mention goes to Michael Ballack, who has emerged as Germany’s
saviour more than once. The Leverkusen-man is all-round, and often scores
with his head. Not a superb talent, but a decent player and a good force for
your team. The rest of the team is mostly average. Defenders: Nowotny,
Linke, Kehl, Wörns, Rehmer, Metzelder. Hmm, nothing too special. Midfield?
Ramelow, Hamann, Ricken. Just the same qualification. Schneider, a man with
a fine cross who hasn’t proven himself at world-level. Attack? Jancker and
Klose, both dangerous but no players to come to the stadium for, Bierhoff
and Scholl past their best, Neuville not a player at the highest level.
So what’s left? Teamspirit. That’s the word in German soccer. Never give up,
help each other, do it together. And that’s something many teams do not
have, and it gives Germany always a chance to make up for the lack of talent
they have. It should take them past the first round. And it could take them
far in the tournament, although they can not compete with France, Argentina,
Brazil, Spain, Italy and even Portugal when it comes down to sheer class.
But you never know.
Germany seems to have the clue from a mental point of
view: they are always there when it matters. They won the title three times,
and in every tournament they did, they were not the best team. At least,
technically and tactically. They were always the best in their heads. They
can cope with pressure, otherwise they wouldn’t even have made it to
Korea/Japan. Ukraine were a nasty opponent during the play-offs, but when
Germany really had to do it, they were there and showed a fine performance. Germany
has got instinct for winning and that takes you far alone.
A BRIEF WORLD CUP HISTORY
by Jan Alsos
Germany have qualified for all World Cups they have entered.
They didn’t go to the very first tournament in Uruguay and not to Brazil after the war in 1950
either, but can otherwise boast a complete participation record. Bronzemedals were achieved
in 1934 in Italy, before Germany suffered their first and only first round exit at any World Cup
in France 1938, losing to neighbours Switzerland after a replay.
Switzerland was the host country when West Germany mopped up the first of three World
Cup titles in 1954. They took a bizarre route, losing 8-3 with their reserves against Hungary
in the first round, but then knocked in fifteen goal in the following three games to set up
another meeting with Hungary in the final itself. The magical Hungarians led by Puskas took
an early two-goal lead before West Germany fought back to win 3-2. It was the first of many
outstanding German come-backs in World Cup history.
West Germany didn’t have the best of teams for Sweden 1958, but battled their way through
to a semifinal where they lost to the hosts. Margins were not on their side four years later in
Chile when Yugoslavia scored the winning goal minutes from time in the quarterfinal, but
West Germany managed - with Beckenbauer’s emergence - to reach another World Cup
final in 1966. A late equalizer by Weber brought extra-time at Wembley, but Hurst gave
England the title with two goals in the extra half hour.
Mexico 1970 was a wonderful World Cup and West Germany contributed a great deal to
that with some superb attacking football. The new scoring sensation Gerd Müller was
introduced to the world audience. His ten goals almost helped the Germans to the final, but a
thrilling semifinal loss to Italy prevented that and West Germany had to settle for bronze after
a win over Uruguay.
In 1974 it was West Germany’s turn to be hosts and quite predictably, they ended up winning
the tournament, but not without obstacles. Their neighbours from East managed to beat them
in a first round game, but West regained their form and beat Yugoslavia, Sweden and Poland
in consecutive matches. Holland with Johann Cruyff were the opponents in the final and after
conceding a goal in the very first minute, the Germans - just as in 1954 - turned the game and
won. Gerd Müller ended his astonishing international career by scoring the matchwinning goal.
West Germany won only one of the six games they played in Argentina 1978 and that was
their record 6-0 thrashing of Mexico. Three goalless draws did not help much in search of
points and goals. West Germany were nowhere near a place in the final in Buenos Aires. The
story was much the same at the start of Spain ‘82. Algeria beat the Germans in their first
match and Jupp Derwall’s men looked to be on their way out already in the first round, but a
comfortable win over Chile set up a neighbour meeting with Austria were a 1-0 win for West
Germany would take both teams through at the expense of Algeria. Needless to say, that
result occured and both West Germany and Austria were accused of fixing the result. West
Germany went all the way to the final - beating France in a classic semifinal - before losing
3-1 to Italy.
Starting slowly in World Cups had become routine for the Germans by 1986. Only one win in
the first round group - against Scotland - set up a second round match with Morocco where
a Matthäus freekick towards the end was enough to send them through. Host country
Mexico lost on penalties and Schumacher - just as against France in 1982 - proved to be an
expert penaltystopper. France could not revenge Seville‘82 when the teams met again in the
semifinal, and West Germany fought bravely against Argentina with Maradona who won 3-2
in a great final.
West Germany reached their third consecutive World Cup final in 1990 and this time finally
ending up with the golden trophy. Beckenbauer’s team was the best in the World Cup and
revenge was taken on Argentina with the 1-0 final win. The Germans were solid throughout
the tournament and were only really challenged by England in the semifinals. The two latest
World Cups have both ended with quarterfinal exits against Bulgaria and Croatia respectively.
By German standards, quite mediocre tournaments, especially the loss against Bulgaria was
painful having been one goal up only to lose 2-1.
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