24 years ago, West Germany scored 4 goals in its opening match on their way to their 3rd World Cup title in Italia 90. In what was to be an awful World Cup, the Germans were clearly the strongest team; justice was served when Lothar Matthaus lifted the cup after a 1-0 win over Argentina.
Fast forward to 2014. Germany opened the tournament with another 4-goal performance on their way to a 4th World Cup title. The Germans were clearly the strongest team in what will go down as one of the most entertaining World Cups in history. Justice was served again after another 1-0 win over Argentina.
As good as it was, Brasil 14 may not go down as the greatest World Cup of all time. The tourney did show us, though, that but the planet is getting smaller – the rest of the world is catching up to the elite class of national teams.
24 years ago, it was almost impossible to see another countries league games. In the US, Univision had their Sunday game of the week, usually on tape with the same crowd noise dubbed in. Now we can see almost any league we want, and players from all over the world have made their way to the bigger leagues.
It has bridged the gap, but not closed it.
Germany recognized this years ago. In order for them to stay a cut above, they needed to renew their commitment to their youth ranks. We saw the first signs of their return to dominance in South Africa, but it was on full display in Brazil. Italy is in the midst of an overhaul. Brazil, one would think, will probably do the same.
The Mannschaft has always struck me as a team that each player knew where the other 10 players were on the field at all times. That hasn’t changed all that much, but these players also excel in the compact passing system that was so successful for the previous winners. And they have at least one or two more World Cups to play. Everything is in place for a dynasty.
There is no reason to think that the Germans won’t be hoisting a trophy two years from now in France and two years later in Russia.
Insert your own war jokes here.
And then there is the fact that they are a really entertaining team, a glorious interpretation of the beautiful game. This ain’t Greece in 2004. They were ruthless against both Portugal and Brazil. And in the games where they were challenged the most (up until the final, of course), Algeria and Ghana, they found a way to get the result. That Germany-Ghana match was as good a group game as we have ever seen.
Someone told me years ago that when Germany has a good team, they lose the final, and when they have a great team, they win it all. Well, they have a great team, so we better get used to them being on top for a while. Get your Mannschaft jersey with 4 stars while you can; it may be a collector's item by 2018.