World Cup 2018: Why Germany will be first team to retain title since 1962
Die Mannschaft are hoping to claim their fifth World Cup in Russia and become the first nation to retain the title since Brazil in 1962.
Including their forty years as West Germany, Die Mannschaft have emerged victorious from four World Cup finals and they are pre-tournament joint-favourites to make it five in Russia
It’s tough to argue against them.
Brazil, who are the other favourites, hope they can bounce back from the humiliation they suffered at home four years ago at the hands of Joachim Low and co. to prevent Germany equalling their record five wins.
The Germans do not look to have any obvious weakness, and with captain Manuel Neuer returning from injury, they look as strong as ever.
These are the reasons Germany will take home the trophy from Russia.
They’ve done it before
The importance of experience at the highest level cannot be understated. Not only do the German team have inspiration to take from their national team in years gone by, but many of their squad for Russia were victorious in Brazil in 2014.
Low will have nine World Cup winners at his disposal in Russia, and a whole host of players who have played in Champions League finals, too, as well as a younger core that won the Confederations Cup this time last year.
Germany are renowned for their mental strength, and this is only improved with their experience in major competitions. No team who made it to the tournament will believe in themselves more than the Germans.
And it doesn’t stop at the players on the pitch.
The coach, Low, will make it 12 years in charge of the national side after this World Cup is complete.
His permanence at the helm of German football has given a consistency to the team which saw them build a dynasty, echoing that of successful sides in years gone by, such as Spain, who for eight years were under the stewardship of Vicente del Bosque and won a World Cup and the European Championships.
When World Cup squads were finalised, there was one name on everyone’s lips: Leroy Sane.
The Premier League’s Young Player of the Year had not been injured, nor had he scored a phenomenal goal in training. He was left out of his national team’s plans.
The reaction on social media to the Manchester City winger’s omission from the Germany squad was one of disbelief. How can one of the best players in the Premier League not play at the World Cup when any manager would love to have him at their disposition?
The answer is that Germany’s squad is good enough without him.
Sure, Low’s tactical plans offer part of the reason, as other players suit his style, but you need to be a great player to make the Germany team, regardless.
Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, and Marco Reus are all world beaters in their own right, and their omissions would have caused equal outrage among other fans. Sane will have his time in the national team, but that he is not needed now proves that Low has a talented squad.
Neuer is still considered among the world’s best goalkeepers, Joshua Kimmich provided more assists than any defender in the qualifying process and is proving to be the Lahm replacement that everyone hoped for, whilst Timo Werner is one of the most promising strikers in Europe.
They win when it counts
Whilst Germany have struggled in recent friendlies, winning just one of their last four (against Saudi Arabia), they are a different machine when it comes to the real deal.
Germany were the only team in World Cup qualifying to win every single game. They scored 43 goals and conceded only four in what was a routine winning of European Group C.
Averaging over four goals a game is unheard of in the run up to the World Cup and only Belgium could match them for this scoring rate.
In competitive matches, Germany are unbeaten in two years, since the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and have won 14 of their last 15, taking home the Confederations Cup in the process.
Joachim Low’s men are ruthless and know how to win games when it matters the most, which is something a lot of teams don’t have.
How many times have we seen England run out of steam at the end of the game when Germany dominate sides?
“At the end the Germans always win…”
Germany have the knowhow and the quality to win the World Cup for the fifth time in their history. Despite slips in recent friendlies, punters should not worry about their current form.
The depth of their squad means that if they are hit by injuries, there is still good backup to see them through. The Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, several Bayern Munich players and others may not even play a minute in Russia.
Ultimately, Germany know how to win the World Cup. When they are at their most confident, no team can stop them.
As Gary Lineker said: “Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group F in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.