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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones