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Germany has blown hot and cold in the matches but are the favourites to lift the tournament. After the last demolition job they did on hosts Brazil no one is even daring to talk about any negatives in their game. Honestly, if you can score a handful of goals against your opponents then by default you will win a football game. The whole idea is to outscore your opponent.
Other key feature of the German game has been their pressing in the midfield. Play a high line, press in the midfield and make the midfield area smaller for opposition. Easier said than done. Basically, setting their stall up and saying to the opposition “play on our terms and to do that you need to be technically superior and physically stronger than us”. What helps this German team is that they have played together for a few years under the same management. Player know each others game well, they trust each other in the field and it shows. Jogi Low has a goal and its only a game away.
Algerian Test (2-1)
Against Algeria, the German back line looked slow. Germans were playing a very high line and the two centre defenders, Boetang and Mertesacker, were being worried by the ball that was played behind them. Luckily for them, the Algerians did not show the composure they had shown in ousting the Koreans, in the group stages. Another factor that save the defence was their goalkeeper Neuer. He was their sweeper that day and made crucial clearances, every time the ball was played behind the defence. Germans brought on Schurrle for Gotze and the pace of their attack picked up. Scurrle ran, from the wider positions in midfield, at the defence and the Algerians did not have any answers for him at that late stage when fatigue had taken over in extra time. Algerian defence went about 10-15 yards in their positioning, enough for the German midfield to take control of the game. Through went the Germans 2-1 in extra time. Unconvincing though.
Slow tempo game of chess against French (1-0)
Against France, the Germans were helped by a soft goal they scored early in the game. Hummels had been brought back in after he missed Algeria game through injury. He nicely put a Kroos cross in the back of the net. French defending, leading up the goal, could have been better because Varane was literally shoved away in the penalty area, at a time when he needed to use his body strength better. The early goal made the game more tactical. The German midfield slowed the tempo of the game and surprisingly the French could not lift it at all. One would have expected the French to open up a bit after going a goal down. It was a game of chess in the middle and while you play that, it is always favouring the team with a goal lead. It was a dull game to view but job well done by the Germans, although not very convincing.
Demolition Job of historic proportions (7-1)
Brazilian captain, Thiago Silva out due to suspension and Neymar due to injury was the big news before the game. The moment Jogi Low announced his team and included Klose in the starting line up, one player in the Brazilian set up who was under pressure straight away was Marcelo. It meant that Klose will play up front and Muller will play on the right wing. Muller, sometimes, goes missing in the game when he is alone at top but when he is playing on the right, he is a handful. Early doors, every time Marcelo tried what he does in club football, go forward, the Germans looked towards their right and inadvertently Marcelo was caught out. First goal came of a corner kick that was his mistake. As the minutes went on Hulk was not much of a help to Marcelo but for Germans captain Lahm had started linking up with Muller and rest is history. Another thing which is less talked about in that game is the German pressing. They pressed high up and made it difficult for the Brazilian midfield to have any control or a bit of flow in the game. By half an hour mark, Brazilian hearts and dreams were shattered. Players were looking dazed. Tears were flowing in the stands. German lightning had hit them so hard that these scars will not go for rest of their lives. History was being made at Belo Horizonte. Scolari, World Cup winning coach in 2002, will be remembered for this more than anything else. German players were applauded by the partisan home crowd and they deserved it. German machine was precise and did the job emphatically.
Germany has only one hurdle left and that is very Messi. I am sure they are saying “Bring him on”. Few of the Bayern Munich players have already faced him and negated him well in the Champions league. This though is the World Cup Final.
MAY THE BEST TEAM WIN
16: Polish born, German center-forward Miroslav Klose has become the highest scorer in World Cups. His goal against Brazil took him past Brazilian Ronaldo’s tally of 15 and is the 3rd player to score in 4 different world Cups ( 02,06,10 & now 2014)