They scored four against Australia, but just how good are Löw's men?

In some respects England's performance against the US has been judged harshly. They were the superior team against opponents who are far better than perceived – the US are the only team to have beaten Spain in 47 matches, the only ones not to have lost to Spain in 39.

However, the contrast between England's often pedestrian display and that produced by Germany on Sunday was stark. Joachim Löw's side produced the first outstanding display of this tournament, shredding an admittedly ageing and disorganised Australian defence so often that even a four-goal margin did not reflect their superiority. It was a performance to make other teams beware, notably England, who could meet Germany in the second round.

The worry for Fabio Capello is that Germany's movement from midfield will exploit the inevitable lack of understanding between John Terry and whoever partners him. There are also the problems Mesut Ozil will cause. English teams traditionally have trouble picking up players who operate between the defensive and midfield lines. Nearly 40 years ago one of Ozil's predecessors in the role, Gunter Netzer, took Sir Alf Ramsey's England apart at Wembley in the European Championship quarter-finals. Ozil also has form, making two and scoring one as Germany's Under-21s defeated England's in the European Championship last summer.

Three of that side started on Sunday – Ozil, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Sami Khedira. Jerome Boateng, on the bench on Sunday, also played in Finland while Marko Marin and Dennis Aogo, were on the bench for both matches.

It is not so long ago that the Germans were bemoaning the lack of young players coming through their system. There has since been a revamp of their coaching structure and mentality. The later began with Jürgen Klinsmann's appointment as coach after a miserable Euro 2004. Klinsmann promoted young players and an attacking brand of football. When he moved aside in 2006 Löw, his assistant, stepped up and maintained those themes. He has created a young, talented and exciting team.

Miroslav Klose, who appears to have rediscovered his scoring touch, leads the line in a 4-5-1 formation. Bastian Schweinsteiger, reining in his attacking instincts without compromising his influence rather more successfully than either Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard seem able to, anchors the midfield. On the flanks are the versatile front-runner Thomas Müller, one of the discoveries of the season with Bayern Munich, and the enigmatic Lukas Podolski, 25 this month. Four years ago Podolski partnered Klose up front in a conventional 4-4-2 (Schweinsteiger was wide midfield). Now he plays left-wing. Despite three poor seasons at club level he is an integral part of Löw's team and was involved in three of Sunday's goals.

Between this pair are Khedira, who plays alongside Schweinsteiger but has licence to break forward, and Ozil. The quintet are constantly seeking to release one another behind the opposing back four with clever through passes and smart movement.

And yet, all good teams need a stroke of fortune. Germany's might prove to be the moment, at Wembley last month, when Kevin-Prince Boateng's bad challenge put Michael Ballack out of these finals. Ballack has been Germany's dominant player for nearly a decade but, at 33, he lacks the movement and energy of the new wave. Löw yesterday suggested that Khedira reminded him of a young Ballack. He added: "With Ballack missing, I had to look for a solution. Ballack was an important player who has immense experience but it seems up to now we have dealt with his absence fairly well."

Fearsome or flattered? Germany's attacking quintet

Mesut Ozil Age: 21, Club: Werder Bremen

Operates between opposition's defensive and midfield lines, an adept dribbler, accurate left foot

Miroslav Klose Age: 31, Club: Bayern Munich

Striker has scored five goals at each of the last two World Cups, leads the line in 4-5-1 formation

Sami Khedira Age: 23, Club: Stuttgart

Tall, strong central midfielder has far more licence to break forward than his partner, Schweinsteiger

Thomas Müller Age: 20, Club: Bayern Munich

Tidy passer is deployed on the right but happy operating anywhere across the front line

Lukas Podolski Age: 24, Club: Cologne

Like Klose, born in Poland. Came off the left flank to have a hand in three goals against Australia

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum