Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 comment: Germany’s journey to glory founded on unique mentality

If this was an ultimate destination then it’s a trip that began 20 years ago

The Maracana

It’s a strange exclamation mark at the end of a tournament of free and flighty moments. From Neymar’s and Messi’s flitters of brilliance and Brazil’s six-minute meltdown to the African embarrassment and Costa Rica’s penalties, it’s been wild, weird and for the most part wonderful. Tonight was a different sort of wonderful and while it’s not to take away from the game itself or the attacking football that Germany offered up as expected, it’s just that their journey this far isn’t representative of what’s gone before. After all the positive and negative passion and emotion, theirs is an effort of pure planning and the fruits of the intricate and organised system they put in place.

Even in the chances created, you got the sense of contrast on offer. While Ezequiel Lavezzi, before his withdrawal, and Lionel Messi provided the natural and the unexpected, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos provided the learned. And for all the Germans’ movement, intricate passing and attacking dazzle that was evident from the early stages as they prodded and probed at the Argentinian massed defence, there was a sense of training ground planning to much of it. That’s not to take away from their talent and threat, but it’s a misplaced narrative we are left with and what other nations now must take note of as they look to follow suit in order to get so far.

Video: Germany win fourth World Cup

If this was the ultimate destination, then it’s a trip that began twenty years ago and even in the vast shadow of a final, the method shouldn’t be lost in all the madness. If 1994 was noteworthy for being the first time they hadn’t reached a semi-final of a major championship since 1984, then 1998 was noteworthy for the manner in which Croatia took them apart and how poor that team looked. By 2000, 50 per cent of the Bundesliga was made up of foreign players but in the background, their association vice-president Franz Beckenbauer, manager Erich Ribbeck, Bayer Leverkusen general manager Reiner Calmund and director of youth development Dietrich Weise invented a new concept for producing young footballers. They are the players we saw here and that have seen Germany rise from their ashes.

 

As football evolved, it’s a concept that had to go against much of what traditional German football had been about. The game had outgrown them but with revolution and evolution, they’ve again put themselves towards the head of the pack. For all their attacking talent though there have been question marks over their defenders and Joachim Löw’s ability to set them up. They were opened up in this final throughout, especially down the left where Benedikt Höwedes – a player it had been hinted was the weak link – struggled badly. His positioning was off on several occasions and the fury that came at him resulted in a sense of panic around much of his play.

The side that had conceded the most of any top-placed European side across qualifying looked porous on the back foot as they’ve done so often. Portugal had chances before the opener and the sending off, Ghana rattled them, the United States frustrated them, Algeria scared them and France tested them. And while the move of Phillip Lahm had seemed to splash water on a fire, it was the other flank that Argentina were most dangerous down and made them look so unsure.

Read more: Germany 1 Argentina 0 as it happened
Shakira performs at the closing ceremony
Germany's journey to glory founded on unique mentality

If the much-talked about Belgian model of player development next door had a policy of putting winning last and individual growth first, in Germany they took a different approach. In their eyes, a winning mentality matters and current under-21 manager Horst Hrubesch alluded to it before they arrived here. “When we won the under-21s European Championship in 2009 we had a lot of players with a great mentality like Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira or Jerome Boateng. The boys must gain the experience to win at youth level so that they get hungry for success. Our current generation in the national team has many players who have won the under-21s, under-19s or under-17s at European level and also trophies at club level. They know what’s necessary to win a tournament.”

But while it was a style that saw them arrive in Rio last night, then it was also a style that railed against the freedom and the unknown that had made this World Cup one of the most entertaining.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all