Germany v Argentina: World Cup winners struggling to come back down to earth

Joachim Löw reveals Bastian Schweinsteiger will replace the retired Philipp Lahm as captain ahead of rematch with beaten finalists

dÜsseldorf

“Back to life, back to reality” tinkled the jazz-inflected tones from the video screens as the glittering Mercedes dealership prepared to greet Joachim Löw. The Germany team that Löw took to the World Cup is not quite ready to face reality just yet. There is still a bit more to be squeezed from their golden, Brazilian summer.

The Esprit Arena here, where Germany face Argentina in a friendly just 52 days after beating them 1-0 in the World Cup final, once staged a One Direction concert, and there could scarcely have been less of a frenzy for the arrival of Löw’s players.

A crowd of some 45,000, more than are expected to watch England play Norway at Wembley, crammed into the stadium just to watch them train. The new Adidas shirt that features a fourth star, commemorating their fourth World Cup triumph, has already sold more than a half a million.

The highlight of the session came when Löw brought out the World Cup, passed it around to fans on the edge of the pitch to touch like a religious icon and then placed it on a pedestal. “The fourth star belongs to you, too,” he told them. Back in the city centre, the team hotel, the Hyatt, was under siege.

In the calmer surroundings of the Mercedes showroom, Löw was asked for his reaction to the news that his home town of Schönau, near the border with Switzerland, had named their little football stadium after him. He replied he had been so overwhelmed since returning from  Brazil that he was still wading through his post.

The nine surviving Englishmen who know what it is like to win a World Cup would have been bemused by the frenzy. Once the parties died away in 1966, the Football League issued a statement hoping that England would not be calling on their players quite so much.

Löw spoke for 45 minutes, announcing that Bastian Schweinsteiger would replace the retired Philipp Lahm as Germany’s captain and warning the nation that the party, however swell, could not last, though he added that the men around Schweinsteiger – Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira, Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels – will provide the core of the squad for years to come.

“This will not be a seamless transition,” Löw said. “We can’t just wake up and put the World Cup behind  us. Every player who was in Brazil needs a bit of time. This has been a huge, emotional experience and we need  to work through it, and starting a new season so soon after the World Cup is strength-sapping.”

The international retirements of Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose meant there would be new blood, which, said Löw, was the best insurance against complacency. Injuries have also watered down the occasion. Lionel Messi will not be in Düsseldorf to show the world what he might have done in the final, while up to eight of Löw’s starting line-up in the Maracana will be missing. “For Argentina it is not a question of revenge,”  said Löw. “Nothing they can do can take that title back.”

Toying with his espresso, he added: “New players are coming in and they can see what being a world champion is all about. They have the ambition, the [existing] players have the experience and it is that which will keep us on top. The European Championship final in Paris must be our goal. It has made us hungrier to have more experiences like this.”

Schweinsteiger is among the absentees, although given that his face was staring from the cover of several celebrity magazines, asking questions of his private life and that of Neuer, Hummels, Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski, he might have other things on his mind.

That is the other price of fame. They are Hollywood now.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
tech
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor