Carragher: Germany remind me of Liverpool – they never give up

It was probably the biggest compliment Jamie Carragher could pay the Germany team: he compared them to Liverpool, for their unshakeable belief that, whoever they are playing and whatever the odds, they believe that they can win games through sheer force of will.

The young Germany team's 4-0 demolition of Australia on Sunday night was the most impressive start to the tournament of any team so far and there were plenty, including Carragher, who watched in the England hotel and were impressed. For the English there is that old agonising question: how have the Germans managed to do it again? Another tournament, another team that looks capable of out-performing expectations.

It is a pertinent question given that if England are careless enough to finish second in Group C then they could find themselves playing Germany, surely now favourites to win Group D, in the first knock-out round. Meanwhile, Franz Beckenbauer has given his own assessment on the England performance against the United States and the conclusion was depressing: "a game gone backwards into the bad old times of kick and rush".

As this is a man who has made a career out of grinding English noses in it – be it the World Cup finals of 1970 and 1990 or even Germany's triumphant bid for the 2006 tournament – it would be wise not to take it too much to heart but it is worth examining the question: how is it that the Germans make international football look so easy?

First of all there is the conspiracy theory. That Germany's players have been able to get used to the controversial World Cup matchball – the Adidas Jabulani – since December in the Bundesliga. They were simply taking advantage of the fact that Adidas supplies the matchball in their top domestic league while the Premier League has a contract with Nike.

For Carragher, though, the difference runs deeper than that and it goes to the root of England's inferiority complex when it comes to big tournaments. "I don't know what their mindset is but what they may have is a belief of always being there at the end [of a tournament]," he said. "Maybe that continues. It is similar to what we have at Liverpool where you are known for getting late goals no matter who is on the pitch.

"You just believe you are going to do it. Maybe it is something like that. Because [England] have not done very well in tournaments, maybe that is something [that counts against us]. But if you look at our players and the players we have got I am still pretty confident we can do well in this tournament.

"If you look at Germany and the names come up, you wouldn't say they roll off the tongue. But then when you see them in action and how they played against Australia, it was very impressive. The manager has done a great job. He [Joachim Löw] was No 2 to [Jurgen] Klinsmann and had a bit of an impact at the last World Cup. They have two or three players from the Under-21 team who beat us in the European championship final last year."

The Under-21 team that beat their England counterparts 4-0 in the final of the European Championships last summer has given the current Germany World Cup squad Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Marko Marin and the goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. England's only graduate to the senior team from that defeat in Malmo is James Milner.

The German class of 2009 have been produced by Matthias Sammer, the former international who is the sporting director of his country's football federation, in response to a fear among the country's football clubs that there were too few German players coming through the system 10 years ago. The major club sides invested heavily in their youth development with an accent on producing well-rounded individuals as well as good players.

The liberalising of German immigration laws around the same time has also meant that many foreign families living in Germany have been able to gain citizenship that would otherwise have been unobtainable. None more so than Ozil, the son of a Turkish family, who was still playing football on the street in his hometown of Gelsenkirchen four years ago, the city in which England lost to Portugal at the last World Cup finals.

It was Ozil above all who caught Carragher's eye in the game against Australia. "Ozil was outstanding," he said. "Right from the first two touches you could tell he had a bit of class with his left foot. You could tell straight away he is a talented player."

Carragher is one of English football's success stories having come through the now defunct national football centre at Lilleshall and then the Under-21s before reaching the senior team. By way of a reminder of what Robert Green will have to go through, Carragher went back to his career low when at Anfield aged 20 he scored two own goals in one game against Manchester United in 1999.

If there is one thing that the England squad – the second-oldest at the tournament after Italy – can lay claim to which their German counterparts cannot then it is the benefit of experience. They have been there and nearly done it on countless occasions. Capello has picked a team that is older but wiser. His accent has always been on age over experience, nowhere more so than in the omission of Theo Walcott.

"I know people look at Premiership footballers and see the money, the lifestyle, but it has been a journey to get to that point," Carragher said. "There have been that many times when you have been knocked on the floor and you have to get back up. There is a lot of players like that. I went to Lilleshall when I was 14. I wasn't better than the lads then. But maybe my mentality helped me whereas some of them are playing non-league now.

"You do get knocked down and you have to get yourself back up. That is why Robert Green is playing for England. There are a lot of things that people will not have seen at youth team, in the reserves so to get to this top level you have to show mental strength."

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence