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

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?