Berlin, July 14 :
FIFA World Cups usually carry a message to the outside world affecting the future of football around the globe. The German one is — Be extremely flexible and never give up.
Mario Goetze scored the winning goal in extra time in the final in Rio’s famed Maracana stadium Sunday against Argentina to secure Germany’s fourth World Cup title, reports Xinhua.
At first glance it sounds an easy thing to be flexible within a game — as far as tactics and strategy are concerned. But it is far from being easy.
Not many teams are able to do what the Germans seem to have perfected. Nothing in the world’s football books, no matter how old they may be, will be regarded as old fashioned anymore. But above all stands: Be flexible in mind and feet. And count on an unbreakable camaraderie.
The Germans invented a back row of four out-and-out central defenders as they first of all wanted to make sure they were rock solid at the back. And then the defence needed a tweak so Philipp Lahm went from midfield (position six) to his usual duties at right back to push the game forward over the right flank.
In midfield the so called modern version of “position six” (at the centre in front of the defensive tasks) was this time more a case of job-sharing for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira (in the final Christoph Kramer as well until he also was substituted due to an injury).
All three worked as guards, playmakers and space-openers into the opponent’s defence.
What made their job a hard one against Argentina was Lionel Messi, who won the player of the tournament award, and his outstanding abilities.
They didn’ t manage to get Messi under complete control, which was no surprise against the maybe best footballer on earth. Therefore when turning defence into attack, Germany for a long time lacked speed against the South Americans.
In the final the Germans had to change their lineup twice. Shortly before the start (Khedira was out due to injury) and after 30 minutes as Kramer was out as well. It took a while to get back on track, but they managed, not without problems though.
Up front it was at first done with a “false nine” — later in the tournament with Miroslav Klose as spearhead — and then with Goetze as false nine again in extra time of the final.
Again the Germans delivered another successful example — if you can carry out changes in your system within a game — it is first class. Positions were changed, to create chaos within the opponent’s back row and create chances.
The Germans in time remembered dead ball situations are a weapon (in contrast to the 2010 World Cup). And keeper Manuel Neuer was more than a “goalkeeper”, sometimes he was more of a libero (as seen against Algeria) as the German defence played further up and he had to watch the space between him and his defenders (as seen against Gonzalo Higuain in the final). Neuer had to come out and save the day on the edge of the box against Higuain.
Being dominant in what he did during the tournament, he was awarded the Golden Glove, tournament’s best keeper.
German captain Philipp Lahm summed up the mantra perfectly, saying: “You don’t need the best players in your squad, but you need a plan and a lot of team spirit.”