GERMANY: Something To Prove In The Semis

The German national team must prove previous steps taken to reach semis will lead to the final
by Katherine Rupp   |   Tuesday, July 08, 2014

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

In what is shaping up to be an interesting game, Germany plays the host country of this year’s World Cup – Brazil – in the first semifinal game to decide which team plays either Argentina or the Netherlands in the final.

Although Germany hasn’t seemed as ‘strong’ in recent years (remember, the last 2 significant championships they have celebrated were in 1990 with the World Cup and 1996 in the Euros), their deficiencies are counteracted by the consistency of the team, its goals (figuratively and literally), and the expectations of the team themselves, their fans and the team’s history and the program that was rebuilt in the early 2000s.

Die Mannschaft play Brazil in the semifinals and it will, most likely, be the largest challenge. Maybe not the toughest because of certain factors (i.e. Neymar being ruled out of this match because of a fractured vertebra), but it will still be large in the sense that Germany will be playing against nearly 200 million people.

In addition to the large challenge of the game, this will be a chance for head coach Joachim Low to silence his critics in the wake of a few intriguing – and close – games such as with the United States, Ghana and Algeria, as well as a slow and unconvincing win against European rivals, France. The detractors of Germany, and more specifically of Low, don’t believe that the German coach will be able to bring home silverware despite strong showings at other European competitions and World Cups. What is expected by many in Germany is the World Cup despite the fact that some think (although they may not publicize it) Low doesn’t have the capabilities of a head coach to win, or even with quality players, make informed in-game decisions.

But regardless of ‘form’ or if Germany will take it to Brazil – so to speak – in their consistency and solid approach to the game, the host country’s team hasn’t had the ‘it’ factor that many believed they would have. Coming into in this tournament besides a few of their players being showing up as stars including Neymar, captain Thiago Silva, former Chelsea man now PSG defender David Luiz, and also Queens Park Ranger goalkeeper on loan to Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC, Julio Cesar, the Selecao haven’t had the significant statement game many thought would have, or should have, come by now.

However, even with how the German team has been playing quite steadily, there is another notch that they can achieve together as a team and individually. What may also help the Germans is, as has been touched upon, is that Brazil has not lived up to expectations concerning any breakthrough or dominant performance of a game. Seemingly, both Brazil and Germany are on a certain precipice of greatness that can showcase the building blocks of both teams – and moreso their national systems that have been building for years – and the strides that, especially Germany, have taken in its program to strive for the pinnacle – the World Cup.

With the amount of money, effort, and development spent on the German youth system and its national team program, anything less than the World Cup would be disappointing and a let down of footballing proportions. Although Germany has yet another level to reach before their last game – whether for third and fourth place or for the World Cup trophy – they will look to prove that the steps taken to improve the national team will have come to fruition on Sunday, July 13, when the World Cup final takes place with Germany on the field.

NEXT UP: July 8 — Germany v. Brazil, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, 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.