GERMANY: Group Winners Await Algeria

After a win against the US, Germany takes on a historical North African rival in Algeria
by Katherine Rupp   |   Monday, June 30, 2014

Bycolored – column on Ottawa Fury & the Ottawa area soccer scene.

A gentleman’s draw would have worked against the United States, but that’s not what either Germany or the US Men’s National Team wanted to accomplish on Thursday, June 26.

Opposite of what some think, Germany, nor the US, came to play for the draw. A tie of any score is not what either team is made of – whether that’s in the group stages, knockout stage of the tournament or beyond. Granted, if the score truly had ended up to be a draw, both camps would not have been happy, but rather a bit disgruntled at the outcome, since Germany and the United States have expect more from their teams.

Germany has enough firepower in their arsenal to make anyone flinch but the United States team didn’t look like it would fall over if pushed. Just as Germany saw Ghana come out to play to win, so had the United States – regardless of how the result of a draw would see both teams advance to the knockout stage of this World Cup. However, heavy legs could be seen, especially in the final 15 minutes, in the Unites States squad as the ‘Manaus effect’ was in full force – one where the US had played in the jungle of Manaus and had 24 hours less rest than their German counterparts.

And though Germany – who has advanced out of the group stage for 15 consecutive World Cups – is one of the favorites to head into the quarterfinals, the 3rd/4th place game or even the Final, there have been moments of this edition of the World Cup where the team has surprisingly shaky.

The German team, as seen in the match against Ghana, is not nearly as speedy or fast as CAF teams have been and may not have as much gumption as CONCACAF teams like the United States; but as a European team, it isn’t a favorite for no reason. Germany is known to wear opponents down by playing good quality soccer and taking their chances on goal. This little bit of gutsiness was seen from Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotzë’s goal in the Ghana game which was followed up by a smart, tactical substitution of said goalscorer for the only striker named to the squad, Miroslav Klose. Joachim Low’s second substitution proved to be the clincher with fan favorite Bastian Schweinsteiger making his mark and performing strongly after coming in for Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.

The German national team, although it beat Portugal 4-0 and quieted one of the best players in the world (Cristiano Ronaldo), was somewhat shocked at a 2-2 draw with Ghana – albeit in a thrilling match that produced great soccer – and looked for ‘redemption’ of sorts to get back on the pace that they are used to. Although Jerome Boateng and Philipp Lahm have been uncharacteristically wrought with little errors (albeit very few errors) this tournament, the US game turned some aspects of their game around.

Additionally, the defense in general has been not itself this World Cup (with the exception of Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels), allowing two goals against Ghana, but the midfield has been most helpful, especially Arsenal’s Mesut Özil and Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos who looked – specifically during the Ghana game – quite impressive. The midfield continued to perform well with pace and skill most soccer fans are used to seeing out of the Germans in the game against the United States. Other opponents the Germans encounter will need to capitalize on the aforementioned defensive misgivings, including the next game that Die Mannschaft battles against in Algeria.

With the history of the United States and Germany – in both soccer and in a historical context – neither side should’ve been expected to take a draw without a fight. The same can be said for the next game for Germany when they take on Algeria. The Fennec Foxes took on the German national team in the 1982 World Cup that took place in Spain. Not much was expected of the Algerians and some of those same rumblings are whispered this time around and yet, similar to the United States team, the Algerian national team is nothing to take lightly. Oddly enough, the Algeria vs. Germany game will most likely look the US vs. Germany game with Algeria putting just enough defense behind the ball but also giving Germany enough reason to be wary of the counterattack.

And though Germany has less, if anything, to prove in terms of ‘being a soccer country’ or showing that ‘soccer has made it’ in the country, the German national team is still ripe with a sense of pride and a need to go forth with no worse of a third place finish similar to some of the most recent World Cups. Regardless of what happened in the match against the United States with the score probably not what was expected out of the Germans, and with Algeria finally making it into the round of 16, there will be – more than likely – blood, sweat and tears.

The game against Algeria may not be as thrilling or nail-biting as some thought the Group G matches were, it will still certainly be a game worth watching. As the Group of Death was alive with thrilling soccer, this match between the Group G winners and the runners-up of Group H will be just as exciting and most definitely a must-watch.

NEXT UP: June 30 – World Cup: Germany vs. Algeria, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, Brazil. 4 p.m. EST, ESPN.

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.