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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home