The foundation of any team’s success is having a great coach, a great leader. Joachim Löw was not just a great coach but also a very inspirational leader
The German team was consistent throughout the tournament. They won six of its seven games and did not once have to get to the stage of penalties
The number 13 will soon shed the unlucky tag. On July 13 in the 113th minute, history was made. A team, which had been in the making for over a decade had been waiting a long time, finally left their stamp at the World Cup stage and the fact that it was played at the Maracanã in Brazil, one of football’s most sacred sites, and against Argentina sweetened the deal.
In the 113th minute of the World Cup final, Mario Goetze—the last minute substitute for veteran striker Miroslav Klose— took advantage of the one gap in an otherwise tight Argentinian defence to score for Germany. It was the magic moment when years of hard work and heart break finally made sense in the only manner that the Germans could understand – Winning.
With the win, Germany has stamped its domination on the world scene and are on top of the FIFA rankings. The Argentinians had their chances – Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi had their chances – but the ball always seemed to either go wide or fall short.
During the tournament, they also smashed records right, left and centre. Here is a glimpse of what they achieved:
- The Germans are the first European team to win in the Americas
- The first to hand Brazil its worse ever defeat in the history of World Cup history in the semi-finals (7-1). It was the biggest margin in a World Cup semi-final
- They reached the finals for the eight time (more often than any other side in the history of the competition) and this is their fourth World Cup victory. The last time they won the Cup in 1990.
- Germany have scored 18 goals in these finals – the last team to score as many in a World Cup tournament was Brazil (also 18) in 2002
- Klose became the top scoring player in World Cup history with his strike against Brazil in the semi-finals (16 goals)
- Thomas Muller has scored 10 goals and provided six assists in just 13 World Cup matches.
- Mario Götze is the first substitute to score a winning goal in the World Cup final and is the youngest scorer of a goal in a World Cup final since Wolfgang Weber in 1966 (22 years, 33 days).
Enough of records. There are several reasons why this German team won the tournament. Here is the story of how the German team snared football’s most prestigious honour.
Make a good foundation
The Germans have been working to get the right team for more than 10 years. When Germany failed to make it through the Group stages of the Euro Cup 2004, the whole country was baying for the blood of the then coach. When Germany looked towards Jürgen Klinsmann to lead them out of the mess they were in, he roped in Joachim Löw to be his assistant. The rest, as they say, is history. Jogi, as he is known, led Germany through the years (he took over as the national coach in 2006) – the team made it to the Euro Cup 2008 Finals, the semi-finals of both the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Euro Cup. The expectations were pretty high as they reached Brazil.
Success is 99% perspiration, 1% Inspiration
“A player who cannot learn is not a good player”. This philosophy set the tone of Germany’s World Cup campaign and also the reign of Joachim Löw as the coach of the German team. The foundation of any team’s success is having a great coach, a great leader. Even during the finals, as the Germans struggled to break through the Argentinian defence, his words of wisdom to Goetze spurred him to score the one goal that made all the difference in the end. Those golden words were – “Show to the world that you're better than [Lionel] Messi, show that you can decide the World Cup.”
The Washington Post had this to say about Low’s inspirational pep talk “More a dare than a motivational speech, it had three things going for it. For one, it was personal. Any talented young player wants to be compared to one of the world's great stars, even if it may be a bit of a stretch. It gave Goetze a specific target to envision rather than some amorphous call to "be the best." It also put the moment in stark relief without turning up the pressure too high. Most of all, the sideline pep talk showed how much Loew believed in his player.”
It’s important to be consistent
The German team was consistent throughout the tournament. They won six of its seven games from the league stage (they drew 2-2 with Ghana in a thrilling game) and got to the World Cup final without needing penalties to decide their fate. The only second time after the finals that they needed extra time was in the game against Algeria in the Round of 16.
Clarence Seedorf, a Dutch former footballer, told BBC News in an interview, “Germany are absolutely worthy of winning the World Cup. They were the best team throughout and they grew a lot. They were always very solid, got through the results and improved as the tournament went on. The final was quite equal, maybe the best chances went to Argentina, but it is still deserved by Germany.”
Young blood to fuel the fire
The current team of players were a delightful mix of the old and the young. While it had veterans like Klose (36), Bastian Schweinsteiger (29) and captain Philip Lahm (30), it also had youngsters like Goetze (22), Mueller (24), Mesut Ozil (26), Toni Kroos (24), Jerome Boateng (25), Andre Schurrle (24) and several of the bench players are even younger. Lahm summarized it best when he said this after the match, “Whether we have the best individual players or whatever does not matter, you have to have the best team. And at the end you stand there as world champions – an unbelievable feeling. We stepped up time and again in the tournament, did not let ourselves get distracted by any disruption [and] went on our way.”
English footballer Rio Ferdinand said this of the current team, “This isn't a project started last year by the German FA. It's something that has been in the making for the last 10 years. These players have played together at international youth level, under-21 level. Now they're world champions.”
One can take many lessons through the German’s win. Usually, it takes a lot of time to change perceptions. The Germans managed to do that in 120 minutes.