Final win would catapult Germany to new soccer heights
Germany's Mesut Ozil celebrates scoring during extra time in their 2014 World Cup game against Algeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 30, 2014. (REUTERS/Darren Staples)
With a win, Germany can launch itself into a dominating era in the world of soccer. But it has to win.
Germany is on the cusp of being the next Spain, the team that controlled the sport for half-a-dozen years, winning every major tournament it entered.
On Sunday, Germany and Argentina face off in the final of the 2014 World Cup. Germany needs a first step -- a launching pad -- and Argentina is it.
German coach Joachim Low believes his team is on the edge of becoming the most powerful international soccer club.
The Germans are young. They have tremendous depth at all positions and have a player development program that should be the envy of every nation. Very few of their players decide they want to play outside of Germany.
Sunday could be historic. If Germany is victorious, they would be the first European side to win a World Cup in either North or South America.
Low spoke at a press conference Saturday at Maracana Stadium and said the idea of making soccer history excites his team.
“We know we can write history,” Low said. “Latin Americans, on this continent, have dominated all the time. So why can we not be the first?
“This could be considered an additional joy for us if we were to win as Europeans on Latin American soil.”
He isn’t shy when it comes to talking about how he believes Germany has the stuff to be like Spain.
Spain has won two European championships and a World Cup since 2008.
“We have players right now who are playing at their peak, but we have young players also in the squad and others who aren't even here," Low said. “We have players with a fantastic future: Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus, Mesut Ozil, Andre Schurrle, Thomas Muller. They can go on to play for a number of years.”
To repeat yet again, though, Low has to win Sunday in order to begin the march, and Argentina has already proven to be a difficult opponent.
The South Americans will also have motivation on its side. The Germans knocked Argentina out of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups in the quarterfinal stage.
Inevitably, the discussion always comes down to Lionel Messi, the Argentine talisman. But, Messi was not affective against the Netherlands and Argentina still won.
Low isn’t about to ignore all Argentines not named Messi.
“This team is not just Messi and if you think that then you would be making a mistake,” Low said. “They have other attacking powers like Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria. This team does not live solely on Messi. They have a good compact organization, better than in 2010."
Low has heard much about his team’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semifinal. It would be natural to worry that his club may think that win put them at another level.
“We should not take the Brazil game as the measure of things. Argentina are a completely different team,” Low said.
Low’s club is young and only Miroslav Klose has played in a World Cup final. That was the 2002 final in Japan and South Korea.
But Germans are known for being able to handle pressure and they have a history of playing in primetime games.
German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said at the press conference that his team won’t be feeling under pressure at all when they play at Maracana.
“We're looking forward to it. There's huge anticipation and joy. We have no pressure,” he said. “We have lots of players among the 23 who've played in important finals and we know how to handle that.”
He said there was “huge anticipation and joy” in the leadup to the match.
“We just have to think about the job we have to do. When the referee blows his whistle, we just have to concentrate on what makes us strong,” Schweinsteiger said. “Everything else around the game, we can take it in but we have to keep it at a distance. Your head must be clear and concentrating only on football.”
Like his manager, he knows full well that with a win, the future looks good indeed.
Who is going to win the World Cup final?