DIE WELTMEISTER!!

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Fey

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Fey on Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:56 pm

Wanted to post this before the game...but I still can post it:


SBN wrote:Why Germany are boring

Four years ago, Germany was full of bright, young, electric players. But they were too inexperienced. They lacked star power. They couldn't possibly be as good as the German teams of yore.
And yet there they were in the semifinals.
Mesut Özil became a star and joined Real Madrid shortly after the tournament. Sami Khedira joined him at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Thomas Müller proved to be just as good as his Bayern Munich teammates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm. Only a 73rd minute goal by Carles Puyol kept Germany from reaching the final.


By the time Germany's run came to an end, they had scored 16 goals in seven matches. They were stocked with brilliant attacking talent and had more waiting in the wings, with the likes of Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, Marco Reus, André Schürrle and Julian Draxler in the pipeline. They even had Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber ready to take over at the back.
Perhaps Germany were too inexperienced in 2010, but they were plenty talented and the star power was there. It was only a matter of time before they took over the world, and they would do it with the most brash, exciting style of play to boot.
So how is it that they're the most boring team left in the 2014 quarterfinals?

Germany have become slow and plodding. Their supposed stars have slumped, playing supporting roles at their clubs and failing to shine for country.
Özil was one of Germany's worst players in the round of 16 before scoring the second goal (through no fault of his own), and at no point has been the brilliant creator many thought he would be four years ago. Meanwhile, Kroos has been average, Goetze hasn't looked anything like a star and Draxler still hasn't seen the field.
Of course, those three can consider themselves lucky to even be on the field.
No World Cup team has been as decimated by injuries as badly as Germany. Reus was sidelined just before the tournament, Badstuber has been out more than a year, Ilkay Gundogan was injured months ago and Mario Gomez, Sven Bender and Lars Bender also missed out through injury.
Even a handful of players who made the team haven't been able to stay out of the trainer's room, as Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Sami Khedira and Manuel Neuer have all had issues that kept them out of training for long stretches. Some struggle to go 90 minutes, let alone the 120 that extra time could ask of them.

This team was supposed to have Hummels and Badstuber anchoring the back line, with the world's best fullback Lahm, next to them. Gundogan would have been the transition man in the middle, making the passes to spark the attack, while Schweinsteiger did anything and everything. His was the bone-crunching tackle, the magnificent through ball, the 25-yard laser. Reus, Özil and Müller would have been in front of them, or maybe Götze would have, with Müller up top.
The possibilities were endless for this super team, which should have had a great, if not world class player at every position bar left back. Their greatness would have only been exceeded by how much fun they would have been.
Instead, they are anything but fun.
Nobody has mastered the sideways pass 30 yards from goal quite like the Germans. Their most incisive play is a through ball to an overlapping runner near the byline, 20 yards wide of goal. Few teams in the tournament play as slowly as they do, and to add to the frustration they've shunted the world's top fullback into the central midfield so that a pair of center backs can play in his standard position.

To call watching Germany play 'tedious' would be kind, and the only thing that makes them even the slightest bit worth watching is Müller in hopes that we'll somehow work out the answer to how this average-looking, awkward athlete is sublimely good at football.
Germany are effective. They have four wins from four World Cup matches and in a tournament devoid of great teams, they are as likely to emerge champions as anyone else, etching their name in football history alongside some of the greatest teams to ever play the game.
But no matter how deep Germany go, even if they win the World Cup, there will still be that "what if?" What if they were healthy? What if they were fun? What if they were the team we thought they would be four years ago, one truly worthy of standing next to the best the World Cup has ever seen?
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Axeslammer

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Axeslammer on Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:15 pm

I'm still bitter and frustrated because of the crap match, but can't really blame Germany for that : congrats on a job excellently executed Ale

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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:22 pm

It was a very tactical match. Not necessarily entertaining, true, but on a pretty high level and quite intense, don't think it was crappy.

I disagree with that article, way too simplistic and quite ignorant in some ways. But whatever, semi finals have been reached, another difficult match waiting. For once, we have all our key players at our proposal at least.
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Xavier

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Xavier on Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:46 pm

Kroos 'average'  Laughing 

Bring on slow & plodding Germany  <Ale> 
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:28 am

World Cup 2014: Joachim Löw’s big call over Philipp Lahm was crucial

Germany’s coach had previously resisted pressure to move Lahm from midfield to his customary position at full-back but he did against France in the quarter-final – and it worked a treat

Michael Cox

It is not unusual for World Cup-winning managers to make a significant change to their starting XI midway through a tournament, and after this win, it feels like Joachim Löw has finally found his best shape – even if Germany’s margin of victory was slender.

Having previously insisted upon playing Philipp Lahm in midfield rather than in his customary full-back position, and used Thomas Müller upfront rather than a natural poacher, Löw selected a more recognisable, cohesive Germany starting XI.

Lahm returned to right-back with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos starting as a trio for the first time in this tournament. Upfront, Miroslav Klose played as an old-fashioned poacher, allowing Müller to drift inside from the right.

Everything felt more solid, more logical, and while Germany won this game by virtue of a Mats Hummels header from a set piece, their advantage in the midfield zone was evident throughout. Schweinsteiger sat deep and played the holding role much better than Lahm, offering more penetration with his passing.

Meanwhile, Klose’s positioning up against the opposition centre-backs meant Raphaël Varane and Mamadou Sakho were unable to advance to shut down onrushing midfielders.

The combination of Germany’s passing from deep midfield positions, and Klose’s positioning, meant Germany found space between France’s defence and midfield. There were three options for vertical passes into this zone – Mesut Özil could drift inside from the left, Müller could do something similar from the right, or Khedira could charge forward from a deeper position, past Blaise Matuidi.


Sami Khedira, Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil took up positions between France’s defence and midfield.

It meant Yohan Cabaye struggled to command that zone, and for the first time in this competition, it was obvious that France lack a genuine ball-winner.

Three examples midway through the first half showed Germany’s approach – first Özil nearly found Khedira between the lines with a dangerous pass, then Schweinsteiger knocked an excellent straight ball into Khedira’s feet in a similar position, before Kroos played another penetrative pass into Özil. The more Germany worked the ball into these positions, the more they looked likely to extend their lead, although their passing was much more cautious after half-time.

France’s approach was very different. Mathieu Valbuena played a similar role to Özil, drifting inside to act as the main playmaker, but France were more dangerous when they directly bypassed Germany’s defence from deeper positions. Although Germany’s defensive line was not as aggressive as in the narrow, second-round victory over Algeria, sometimes the back four pushed up without the midfield putting pressure upon the France midfielder in possession.

France’s best chance in the first half came from this situation, when Sakho played a straight ball in behind the opposition defence, allowing Antoine Griezmann to break forward, and the Real Sociedad winger nearly squared for Karim Benzema in the centre. Valbuena was also capable of running in behind, while Benzema cut inside with the ball for a good opportunity having received a long diagonal ball from Paul Pogba into the German’s right-back zone.

Pogba also played a great diagonal pass to Griezmann running in behind at the start of the second period, though the pass was met with poor control. Germany’s high defensive line is fascinating, especially with the goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, sweeping up behind, but there are obvious risks.

France’s attempted comeback was strange. The manager, Didier Deschamps, waited a long time to make his substitutions, eventually shifting to a 4-2-4 system featuring Griezmann, Benzema, Olivier Giroud and Loïc Rémy across the front. But there was never great urgency in their performance.

Still, Germany deserve credit for shutting down this contest with a minimum of fuss, and it will be a huge surprise if Lahm returns to midfield for the semi-final.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/04/world-cup-2014-low-lahm-germany-france
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:34 am

Germany back in the old routine

POSTED BY GABRIELE MARCOTTI

Sometimes the old-fashioned way really is the best way. Hollywood loves that sort of thing. A bunch of semi-retired criminals getting together for one last score. Or the creaking old-timers reuniting and calmly, competently, teaching the young guns a thing or two.

Jogi Low turned to his past to answer the questions in his present. Faced with pace on the counter and the muscle in the midfield of Les Bleus, he turned back the clock in so many ways and not just because seven of his starting 11 were the same as those who faced Spain when the 2010 World Cup dream came to an end.

The key was moving Philipp Lahm to right-back, a shift with cascading implications throughout the German side. You can easily identify four of them, all of which played a part in the victory.

It meant the back four now had width going forward and agility defensively. It meant Jerome Boateng could slot inside alongside Mats Hummels, at the expense of Per Mertesacker. It meant Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira could renew their partnership in the middle of the park.

And it meant that a more natural centre-forward was needed, which is why Low turned to 36-year-old Miroslav Klose up front, shelving the "false nine" business.

All of this together resulted in a Germany that looked more like Low's early work. Gone was the "death by possession" ethos, the philosophy he tried to transplant from Pep Guardiola's Bayern to suit his team's Bavarian spine. Instead, you had brawn and work rate in the middle, directness in possession and a team that seemed just as comfortable without the ball as it is with it.

"I've always said we were able to change formation and style; it's one of our strengths," he said. "Against Algeria we played one way, now we wanted to make a change."

True, it's something he always "said." But managers say lots of things. Not all have the humility to change. Fewer still get it so right when they do.

With Lahm's legs and intelligence in the back four -- he was also the guy looking across the defensive line and making sure the offside trap held -- the high line that was torn to shreds by Algeria didn't look so haphazard. Manuel Neuer had to play sweeper only occasionally. Low even described it as an offensive weapon. ("It's a luxury to have a keeper who is so comfortable on the ball, it means that a defender under pressure can play it back and you still retain control because Neuer won't just clear it up the pitch, he'll find a pass.")

Boateng and Hummels simply complement each other much better than Hummels and Mertesacker. If it's about putting your key players in roles where they are more comfortable, this one makes sense every day of the week. At Borussia Dortmund, Hummels is used to playing with a quick, athletic partner (Neven Subotic until his injury, Sokratis Papastathopoulos after). But when he's paired with the Arsenal centre-back, Hummels finds himself as the more agile of the two, and it's not something he's always comfortable with. (Mertesacker, to his credit, took the exclusion well. Low said that when he informed him he would be sitting out, the big man said: "Coach, if it helps the team, I'm happy with it.")

Schweinsteiger and Khedira had turned into an either/or dilemma. Shifting Lahm meant both could play, like they had done so many times together in the past. They too are obvious complements, particularly when a side doesn't obsess over possession. They were also more suited to the physical battle with France's tough guys -- Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi -- than the more lightweight Lahm.

"France are very dense in midfield," Low said, using a term that may sound unusual in English but neatly captures France's central brawn. "With Cabaye and Pogba, they are so strong, it becomes very tough to go through the center, so my idea was to have Lahm attack from the right."

Lahm, as ever, got more touches than any other German player, though -- obviously -- he wasn't able to influence the game personally the way he's done for the past year in midfield. But it forced France to adjust: Patrice Evra sat more than he usually does, Matuidi and Pogba found themselves drawn to Lahm's side.

France coach Didier Deschamps said he wasn't surprised at Lahm's move. "It's his natural position, he plays there most of the time," he said, which actually isn't true at all. "But wherever he is, he's going to be one of the most influential players."

Klose, who -- ridiculous as it sounds -- scored his first World Cup goal way back in 2002, obviously lacks the stamina or pace he once had. But few players in the world, even today, are as adept at finding space and making the kind of intelligent runs that unsettle defenders. His movement allowed Germany to play more directly and made the game simpler for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos.

The changes made Germany more battle-ready, better equipped to deal with the French threat and the war of attrition this game became. The early goal, of course, made things considerably simpler. Less than 15 minutes into it, Hummels' masterpiece of power, timing and penalty-box savoir-faire allowed him to best Raphael Varane and beat Hugo Lloris.

It was the first time France went behind in this World Cup. Instead of an instant reaction, it took them time to regroup: "We were too timid in the first half" Deschamps admitted. This was in part because of Germany's press in midfield. Off the ball, the front men retreated, the back four pushed up and there were maybe 20 paces between the deepest German defender and Klose at the other end. This meant congested spaces and plenty of big bodies to play through, making things tougher for Les Bleus.

France realized they had to go over the top, spring the high line and try to find Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema with little chips and dinks. But what worked so well for Algeria failed here, in part because of Boateng's central presence and Lahm's leadership of the back line. The one time they did manage it, with just over half an hour gone, Neuer produced a brilliant save from Mathieu Valbuena's shot after a perfectly timed run and cross from Griezmann.

France have never managed to come back and avoid defeat when down at half-time in a World Cup game. They wouldn't manage it on Friday either. The best they could do was a Varane header, swatted away by Neuer, and Benzema's last-minute diagonal. In the meantime, Germany, who had brought on the fleet-footed Andre Schurrle, had at least three outstanding chances.

"Yeah, they could have scored a second; we became vulnerable to their counter because we had to chase the game," Deschamps conceded.

The question now is whether Friday was a Plan B and Low will restore Lahm to his deep-lying playmaker role, or whether the DeutschTikiTaka is a project to be shelved (at least temporarily). It worked against the French in a game that became a tactical battle and was blessed with an early German goal. It may not encounter the same success against a different opponent. And with Schweinsteiger and Khedira dogged by fitness issues -- and Klose not getting any younger and unlikely to give you more than an hour on the pitch -- you wonder how viable (let alone desirable) it is.

For all of Lahm's influence in the possession system as a playmaker, there's another Lahm -- let's call him right-back Lahm -- sitting in a little metal box that says "BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY." That's what Low did. The question now is whether he puts him back in his little box and goes with the other one.

http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/4/blog/post/1932534/marcotti-germany-back-in-the-old-routine-against-france


Agree with Marcotti than with Cox regarding Lahm. Knowing Löw, he could well play in midfield vs. Brazil again, depending on the fitness of Schweinsteiger and Khedira. Plus, it all depends on the opponent, too.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:37 am

Germany come of age with glory in sight

POSTED BY RAPHAEL HONIGSTEIN

Rio de Janeiro. Wolfgang Niersbach had a straightforward explanation for Germany's 1-0 win over France at the Maracana. "More important than any (tactical) set-up is the mindset," the German FA chairman insisted after Joachim Low's team had secured a fourth consecutive semifinal appearance at a World Cup.

Most observers will baulk at such a simplistic assessment. But Thomas Muller, a player who can come up with interesting answers to even the most banal questions, took the same line. Quizzed about Germany's solid defensive game, the 24-year-old didn't discuss the national manager reverting back to the Schweinsteiger-Khedira partnership in the middle, Low's preference for Jerome Boateng over Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defence or the much-vaunted decision to put Philipp Lahm back into his customary right-back role.

Instead, Muller said the key had been his team's "good mentality."

"Everybody made the runs that are necessary to be in the right position defensively," he explained.

"That's maybe something that is often missing in qualifiers and friendlies, because you don't toil as much when there's less at stake. But under pressure, we are extremely strong in the head. As long as we all fight this well, we will be very hard to beat."

If Muller and Niersbach are right, this shines a new light on the team's struggles for defensive assuredness over the last couple of years (as well as in the games against Ghana and Algeria at this World Cup).

Forget the Schweini-Khedira conundrum (and Low's solution -- Lahm's midfield role); forget the absence of the Bender twins; forget the high defensive line. The real flaw, Muller and Niersbach seemed to suggest, wasn't so much in Germany's tactical blueprint but the team's willingness or lack thereof to go the extra mile in its implementation.

You'd expect this kind of assessment from a work-horse like Muller, who had once again been an indefatigable runner in subtropical conditions. "It felt like playing in a grill shack today," he joked. "But you don't contest a World Cup quarterfinal every day. One should use the opportunity to get a bit of exercise."

The stats bear him out. Germany ran a combined 7.5 km more than the French despite being in front for 78 minutes and restricting themselves to sporadic attacks in the second half. You could say that Germany ran so much, the fact that Schweinsteiger and Khedira were underwhelming didn't matter.

The former won only one of six duels, the latter two of eight -- poor returns for defensive midfielders. Those numbers belie the most important aspect of their task on Friday, however. By simply occupying the decisive space on the pitch, they forced Les Bleus to play long balls over the top, back or sideways or to lose the ball in vain efforts to power through that congested middle.

When you defend this disciplined and in numbers -- Schweinsteiger and Khedira were both able to sit in the second half because France were chasing the lead -- you don't need a defensive midfield specialist.

Oliver Bierhoff, one of only two members of the delegation who have been part of a trophy-winning team (the other one is team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt) recognised the pressure game against the French had brought the best, traditional traits out of the players.

"We were very organised and filled in each for each other," said the general manager and Euro 96 winner. "That has been always the strength of German teams."

Those so-called German virtues had become a bit of dirty word during the Klinsmann/Low era but they have now made a comeback at a very opportune time, along with the extremely useful ability to score from dead balls. Low used to almost sneer at practising them. He was more concerned with using the time to implement his passing game.

The 54-year-old has changed his mind though. "We have practised them more than in the past, and the players appreciate it," said Bierhoff. "They know how important these situations can be."

Indeed. Mats Hummels' goal had come from Toni Kroos' free-kick. It's all part of a return back of the basics ("the most crucial bit is knowing how to see out a game," said Muller) but without abandoning the progress of the last few years.

"Compared to 2010, we are much less reliant on the counter-attack, we have many more options and ways to play in attack," Müller added, "we can still improve in that respect."

Germany had also found a new maturity, said Bierhoff. "We have many players who have won the Champions League. They know what needs to be done, they know how stay calm before and during important matches."

The complete absence of euphoria after the France game in the bowels of the Maracana told its own story in that regard. The 2006 and 2010 teams had been incredibly pleased to get to the semifinals. The current crop aim much higher.

No, they're not a "Ubermannschaft" -- "we haven't seen any yet," said Bierhoff -- but against France, they at last looked like a team that was coming of age, a team comfortable with themselves. And that might just be enough in this year's competition.

http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/4/blog/post/1933594/germany-france-quarterfinal-review
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:47 am

Manuel Neuer’s immense presence powers Germany’s World Cup success

For all the great goals this has also been a World Cup of wonderful goalkeepers, with Germany’s the very finest

This festival laden with so many goals, such memorable moments of attacking intent and finesse, will also be remembered as a World Cup for goalkeepers. The the blockers, the smotherers, just keep on excelling. As much as we will store for posterity the beauty of the maestro strikes – the mastery of James Rodríguez, the leap of Robin van Persie, the thrill of Tim Cahill, the zorro sword of Lionel Messi – the goalkeeping has at times been as breathtaking. And as decisive.

The wafer-thin margins that so often decide these intense knockout ties can come down to an instinct, a stretched limb, a burning muscle, a gamble. Germany held the upper hand after Mats Hummels gave them an early leg-up, but those sudden spaces that open up around their defence were a persistent issue in the back of German minds. And there it was, in the 33rd minute, the moment when Germany’s progress was put at high risk: Antoine Griezmann whizzed forward and floated the ball across to his accomplice Mathieu Valbuena. France’s stocky No8, their go-to man when in need of guile, drove an angled shot that was crisp and true.

Manuel Neuer is huge. He has immense presence – both physical and charismatic – which can be intimidating for any forward. He would be perfect material for a cartoonist creating some kind of footballing comic hero. The Super Sweeper Keeper. It barely seems fair to any opponent that he also possesses agility and sharp reading of situations on top of that. Neuer flung out his left arm with enough power to deflect Valbuena’s shot. When Hummels made sure Karim Benzema could not gobble up the rebound, Neuer calmly jumped arms outstretched as if he fancied swinging on the crossbar. He looked audaciously calm and relaxed in the searing Maracanã pressure cooker.

In a style reminiscent of a fabled predecessor in the German goal, Oliver Kahn (the only goalkeeper to win the golden ball, the prize awarded to a World Cup’s greatest performer), Neuer emits the attitude of a man overloaded on confidence. Not over-confidence, mind you, just pure bloody-minded self-belief. While there has been a certain amount of German fretting about vulnerability in their backline, which has a tendency to drift up and leave an inviting pocket of space for the opposition to aim at, Neuer’s habit of channelling his inner Franz Beckenbauer to sweep up is an impressive sight.

Having excelled with an unusual performance against Algeria in the previous round, there had been much discussion about how Neuer has this intriguing role as an auxiliary defender, dashing out to tackle. Joachim Löw wondered aloud whether he could play in midfield. “He can play behind the defenders and basically pass like an outfield player,” he said.

Against France he barely needed to show those qualities. He kept it more traditional. He stayed close to his line and dealt with the scraps that France could muster. This was a day when Didier Deschamps’ team strained to muster enough passing lustre. The midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye were predominantly occupied with trying to contain the Germans, so found enterprise of their own difficult to build. France struggled for conviction. Sami Khedira was influential alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in ensuring the heartland belonged to them on this occasion.

When Germany were in possession, Neuer just prowled around his box. He was like a big cat, dominating his territory. In the second half he made a semi-threatening header from Raphaël Varane look like a comfortable catch out in the back garden with the kids.

Neuer will be critical the further Germany go on in this competition. His desire has been fundamental for club and country. He was in goal when Bayern Munich lost the Champions League final on home turf to Chelsea in 2012. He took a penalty (scored) as well as repelling one from Juan Mata. It turned out not to be enough. But typically, that experience served only to drive him. Neuer was superb throughout the subsequent Champions League season, a man on a mission in the final, and Bayern were winners.

In terms of personality, in showing how a goalkeeper, playing in that most exposed of positions, has to somehow get back up after a heavyweight punch, that was again reminiscent of Kahn, who with Bayern felt the devastating force of losing the 1999 Champions League final to Manchester United, then responded with a thou-shalt-not-pass display to win the trophy two years later.

Stoppage time in the Maracanã. France seized one last moment to thread a path through. Benzema exchanged passes with Olivier Giroud and flashed a venomous shot. Neuer extended an arm and possessed such strength to beat away what could have been, for Germany, a maddeningly late equaliser. He took it in that immense stride of his.

There have been a string of sensational goalkeeping performances in Brazil. Guillermo Ochoa for Mexico, Keylor Navas for Costa Rica and Tim Howard for the USA all spring readily to mind. Neuer intends to keep his own high standards going, to underpin Germany’s challenge, until the semi-finals at least.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/04/manuel-neuer-germany-success-world-cup-2014
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Allez les rouges

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Allez les rouges on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:44 am

Fey wrote:Wanted to post this before the game...but I still can post it:


SBN wrote:Why Germany are boring

Four years ago, Germany was full of bright, young, electric players. But they were too inexperienced. They lacked star power. They couldn't possibly be as good as the German teams of yore.
And yet there they were in the semifinals.
Mesut Özil became a star and joined Real Madrid shortly after the tournament. Sami Khedira joined him at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Thomas Müller proved to be just as good as his Bayern Munich teammates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm. Only a 73rd minute goal by Carles Puyol kept Germany from reaching the final.


By the time Germany's run came to an end, they had scored 16 goals in seven matches. They were stocked with brilliant attacking talent and had more waiting in the wings, with the likes of Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, Marco Reus, André Schürrle and Julian Draxler in the pipeline. They even had Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber ready to take over at the back.
Perhaps Germany were too inexperienced in 2010, but they were plenty talented and the star power was there. It was only a matter of time before they took over the world, and they would do it with the most brash, exciting style of play to boot.
So how is it that they're the most boring team left in the 2014 quarterfinals?

Germany have become slow and plodding. Their supposed stars have slumped, playing supporting roles at their clubs and failing to shine for country.
Özil was one of Germany's worst players in the round of 16 before scoring the second goal (through no fault of his own), and at no point has been the brilliant creator many thought he would be four years ago. Meanwhile, Kroos has been average, Goetze hasn't looked anything like a star and Draxler still hasn't seen the field.
Of course, those three can consider themselves lucky to even be on the field.
No World Cup team has been as decimated by injuries as badly as Germany. Reus was sidelined just before the tournament, Badstuber has been out more than a year, Ilkay Gundogan was injured months ago and Mario Gomez, Sven Bender and Lars Bender also missed out through injury.
Even a handful of players who made the team haven't been able to stay out of the trainer's room, as Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Sami Khedira and Manuel Neuer have all had issues that kept them out of training for long stretches. Some struggle to go 90 minutes, let alone the 120 that extra time could ask of them.

This team was supposed to have Hummels and Badstuber anchoring the back line, with the world's best fullback Lahm, next to them. Gundogan would have been the transition man in the middle, making the passes to spark the attack, while Schweinsteiger did anything and everything. His was the bone-crunching tackle, the magnificent through ball, the 25-yard laser. Reus, Özil and Müller would have been in front of them, or maybe Götze would have, with Müller up top.
The possibilities were endless for this super team, which should have had a great, if not world class player at every position bar left back. Their greatness would have only been exceeded by how much fun they would have been.
Instead, they are anything but fun.
Nobody has mastered the sideways pass 30 yards from goal quite like the Germans. Their most incisive play is a through ball to an overlapping runner near the byline, 20 yards wide of goal. Few teams in the tournament play as slowly as they do, and to add to the frustration they've shunted the world's top fullback into the central midfield so that a pair of center backs can play in his standard position.

To call watching Germany play 'tedious' would be kind, and the only thing that makes them even the slightest bit worth watching is Müller in hopes that we'll somehow work out the answer to how this average-looking, awkward athlete is sublimely good at football.
Germany are effective. They have four wins from four World Cup matches and in a tournament devoid of great teams, they are as likely to emerge champions as anyone else, etching their name in football history alongside some of the greatest teams to ever play the game.
But no matter how deep Germany go, even if they win the World Cup, there will still be that "what if?" What if they were healthy? What if they were fun? What if they were the team we thought they would be four years ago, one truly worthy of standing next to the best the World Cup has ever seen?

Ha, daß ich nicht lache – loving this Biggrin (you getting desperate Fey, quoting a "Rosenblatt"? Then again you are doubtless one of the few Dutchies quibbling with van Gaal's tactics, so fair enough... Wink )

"This article is so negative it must have been written by a German" as someone says below. Let's say it again, rather be boring than do the same as usual, impress and go out, as Per "Eis Eis Tonne" Mertesacker said (before being dropped). More boring than whom, exactly? Brazil, Holland, Argentina? Good one Smile We know what happened to Colombia and France.

It is an issue (apart from the player who's so obviously missing – too many players who are either predominantly direct or creative, but not both), but the 4-3-3 is more defensively stable than the 4-2-3-1 – shame for Özil, who really needs to produce something, but only one thing counts at this stage. Think it probably still makes sense to start one of Özil or Götze if only for creativity.

The ceiling is of course a lot higher and of course we will need to get closer to it from here on in.
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Axeslammer

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Axeslammer on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:05 pm

Allez les rouges wrote:More boring than whom, exactly? Brazil, Holland, Argentina? Good one Smile We know what happened to Colombia and France.

Spot on (except for mentioning France) ok

Colombia were the only non-boring team in the final 8.

*all* of the teams in the semis play boring football, 3 of them will look like fools.....because the only justification for playing boring is to win the whole damned thing Ale
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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:17 pm

The view from Germany – as they prepare to face Brazil in the semi-final

Four World Cup semi-finals in a row, two of them down to Joachim Löw, but the knives are still out for Germany’s manager

It’s relatively rare for footballers to sound more eloquent at describing the game’s emotional nuances than journalists, but members of the Germany squad have now managed to do so twice in a week.

First there was Per Mertesacker’s instantly meme-worthy interview after the 2-1 win over Algeria. “Would you rather we played beautiful football but got knocked out?”

And over the weekend there was Philipp Lahm with an another comment one did not quite expect from this extraordinarily talented, but also extraordinarily PR-trained, “golden generation” of German payers: “Playing for another third place isn’t something I need right now. More is required – definitely.”

Both comments summed up a new realism that is more in sync with the mood in German bars and living rooms right now than the Nu jazz-soundtracked feelgood clips transmitted by public broadcasters from the team’s Campo Bahia training camp.

Germany will now play in their fourth consecutive World Cup semi-final, often playing beautiful, stereotype-defying football along the way, but that is no longer something you would hear people chatting about in front of the public screenings around the country. The mood is grimmer, less euphoric.

Even during the 1-0 win over France there were howls of frustrations every time a player misplaced a pass, debates over who should replace Joachim Löw after the tournament every time the team looked tactically lacking. “It’s as if Löw can no longer please anyone at all,” wrote Alexander Osang in Der Spiegel. “When he played Philipp Lahm in midfield people said he was being stubborn, when he moved him back into defence, as he did against France, people said he didn’t have a spine. If he wins it’s because of the team; if he loses, it’s his fault.”

Osang also pointed out that in the press conference after the France match the only person to congratulate Löw was the Fifa official chairing the session, the only journalist to point out his impressive points-per-game record, a reporter from Sudan.

Löw’s reputation as the tactical mastermind to counterbalance Jürgen Klinsmann’s motivational skills was severely damaged by Euro 2012 semi-final defeat at the hands of Italy. In an open letter addressed to Löw, Die Welt’s Lars Wallrodt on Monday called it “the match in which you betrayed German football” .

The widely held view in Germany is that Löw tinkered too much with his team in that game, trying too hard to adjust Germany to Italy’s strengths. Of course one could argue that he did the same thing again against France on Friday – it’s just that this time, Germany won.

Rather than mark his legacy as a modernist who revolutionised the German game, anything other than a victory in the final on 13 July is likely to cement the reputation of Löw and the generation of Lahm, Schweinsteiger et al as eternal runners-up.

The more optimistic voices in the German media feel confident that the players are more aware of that fact than anybody else.

In a few previous tournaments Germany had put a new spin on their reputation as a Turniermannschaft – tournament team – not just that they get better as it progresses through the knockout stages, but that they also become more flamboyant – 4–1 against England in 2010, 4–0 against Argentina, 4–2 against Greece.

This time around, the team started with an emphatic 4–0 demolition of Portugal and a riveting, anarchic 2–2 against Ghana, but have ground out one-goal leads in the last three matches. No longer burdened with representing the avant garde, Germany seem to be rediscovering the old ruthlessly efficient ways. “Like Italy in Germany shirts”, the public broadcaster ARD called it – and for the first time in years, that sounded like a compliment.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/07/germany-brazil-world-cup-semi-final
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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Antarion on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:10 pm

Eternal runners up...for the national team yes. But with the CL triumph, that got already out of the way for this generation. Winning a World Cup is much harder because its only every 4 years. 2010 and 2012 was always going down to luck and the last 5%. Spain just had an even better generation at the same time (and the needed luck like the penalty shootout against Portugal, that Robben 1 on 1 in the final...)
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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:59 pm

Not Ballack-like eternal runners up, sure, but we all know which titles are more important, particularly in the view of the German public (and players! - see Hummels' comments earlier).
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:12 pm

Greater expectations for Germany

Posted by Uli Hesse

The day I first saw Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger play football was June 30, 2002. It was also the day of the World Cup final between Germany and Brazil in Yokohama, Japan.

Lahm and Schweinsteiger were in action in the semifinals of the German youth championship -- Bayern Munich met Borussia Dortmund -- a competition that often has its latter stages taking place while big tournaments are being staged elsewhere.

Dortmund had won the first leg in Munich, 3-2, and the return leg was scheduled for 10.30am on June 30, two-and-a-half hours before the World Cup final was due to kick off.

I figured there was plenty of time and took my young son to the game between Dortmund and Bayern. I must confess we watched our own players, the Borussia boys, more closely than the Bayern talents. With the benefit of hindsight, that's a pity.

Normally only very few players from title-winning youth sides really manage to become established Bundesliga players, but this Bayern team included Michael Rensing, Andreas Ottl, Christian Lell and Piotr Trochowski. Plus, of course, Lahm and Schweinsteiger.

They were so good that they erased the first-leg deficit and took the game to a penalty shootout. I looked at my watch. It was now getting worryingly late. But of course, we stayed to the end -- and saw Bayern go through to the final (which they went on to win against Stuttgart). Then we ran to the car and raced home.

We were almost there when the 1 o'clock news came on the radio. The final item was that Oliver Kahn had won the Lev Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper of the World Cup. When I heard that, I turned around to my son and said: "Well, we all know what's going to happen now, don't we?"

It happened on 67 minutes. Rivaldo struck from a distance with his lethal left foot. Although the shot didn't seem to pose a problem for Kahn because the ball came directly at him, it somehow slipped from Kahn's grasp and bounced away, giving Ronaldo an easy tap-in. It was the moment that decided a game that could have gone either way. Twelve minutes later, Ronaldo scored again, this time with a well-placed low shot that left Kahn with no chance. The game finished 2-0 and Brazil were crowned champions.

It was Germany's fourth defeat in a World Cup final, but -- unless you were one of the players -- it was probably the one that hurt the least, in part because this was the first tournament in living memory for many fans which Germany didn't enter as one of the favourites. Two years after Germany's disastrous European Championship group stage exit in Belgium and the Netherlands, nobody at home expected too much of a team that basically stood and fell with one man: midfielder Michael Ballack.

The reason why Germany still made the final despite an obvious lack of quality was not, in contrast to some other tournaments, because they overachieved or were particularly lucky. No, they simply did what the people at home could righfully expect from them. They were committed, disciplined and hard to break down. Whenever they made a mistake, Kahn was there. And whenever they needed to make something happen up front, Ballack was there.

It was enough to make the final because the 2002 World Cup was a strange affair. Defending title holders France were knocked out in the group stage, the same fate that befell Argentina, before Italy became the victims of some creative refereeing decisions as they were knocked out by South Korea. In fact, Germany didn't meet a single team that was among the top 10 in the FIFA world rankings as they progressed to the final.

Still, all the games -- save the very first against Saudi Arabia -- were tough and close. In the knockout rounds, Germany racked up three nailbiting 1-0 wins in a row to book a date with Brazil. The last one of these may have decided the World Cup final long before Rivaldo's shot sailed at Kahn.

In the semifinals, Germany played hosts South Korea in Seoul. The game was scoreless after 70 minutes, not least because Kahn had made another incredible save against Lee Chun-soo. Then, suddenly, Germany were exposed at the back. Four South Koreans were moving toward Kahn's goal, which was protected by only two defenders. Again it was the fleet-footed Lee who carried the ball. He went past Carsten Ramelow -- and then Ballack's late tackle from behind brought him down three steps from the penalty area.

It was and is the most famous professional foul in German football history. (The German expression, by the way, is "tactical foul".) Ballack was booked for the second time in the knockout rounds. Today, the World Cup rules say you can't miss the final because of accumulated yellow cards, but it was different in 2002. Ballack knew that if Germany won the game he would be suspended for the final. Four minutes later he scored the only goal of the match.

In the days, weeks and months after this semifinal, Ballack was widely lauded for having, in the vernacular of the press, sacrificed himself for the team. He himself tended to avoid the subject, probably with good reason. A professional foul is not something of which a sportsperson should be particularly proud. Watching the footage, it's still not entirely clear whether Ballack was intending a foul all along or whether he had simply run out of gas after sprinting at full speed from one box to the other and just couldn't time the tackle.

And so Germany had to play the final without their most accomplished, most dangerous and most important outfield player on account of a suspension. To make matters worse, the final would be the long-awaited first World Cup encounter between two giants of the game, as Brazil had managed to win the other semifinal against what quite a few observers considered the best team at the tournament: Turkey.

Without Ballack, Germany went into the game as the underdogs. So it didn't come as a surprise that Brazil had the better chances in the first half: Kleberson hit the crossbar and seconds before the interval, Kahn brilliantly saved Ronaldo's shot on the turn from 10 yards.

Yet the Germans played well, better than during any of the preceding games. To this day, you often hear that the only true Brazilian-style player on the pitch was Bernd Schneider, the silky-skilled Leverkusen midfielder. His team came close to taking the lead only four minutes after halftime, when Oliver Neuville's free kick from more than 30 yards out hit the right post. Three minutes later, Gilberto Silva tried to get to a loose ball, was late and instead hit Kahn's right hand with his studs.

The goalkeeper tore a tendon in his ring finger at that moment. However, Kahn never used that as an excuse to explain the mistake he made a quarter of an hour later. "It was the one and only error I made in seven games," he said. "And it was brutally punished. It's a bitter job."

But the people back home didn't consider the team losers, and Kahn was certainly not made the scapegoat. The magazine Der Spiegel reported that the "returning heroes were given a triumphal reception" when the Germany squad came home a day later. It even quoted a fan as saying: "This is better than the Euro '96 victory, because we didn't expect anything."

I have often asked myself where and how Lahm and Schweinsteiger watched the final back in 2002. By the time their own celebrations had ended and they had showered, the first half must have been almost over. Perhaps they immediately boarded their coach to go back to Munich and listened to the game on the radio.

Sometimes I imagine that they sat next to each other on that coach and that one of them said: "Did you know that this was the first time Germany and Brazil have ever played each other at a World Cup?" And I like to think that the other replied: "No, I didn't know that. But the next time it happens, I want to be on the pitch."

http://www.espnfc.com/story/1935878/uli-hesse-greater-expectations-for-germany-as-they-face-brazil-in-rematch-of-2002-world-cup-final
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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:19 pm

Hummels finds harmony at last

Posted by Raphael Honigstein

"2012 is over," Mats Hummels said after his winning goal against France in Friday's quarterfinal.

Not exactly a bold statement. Everyone can figure out the current date in the calendar. But for this Germany team, "2012" isn't just a year that has passed into recent history. Those four numbers stand for a variety of issues, problems and conflicts. And if you want to understand why things are different now, and why 2012 might indeed be over, as the Dortmund centre-back insisted, you have to begin by looking back.

Two years ago, at the Euros in Poland and Ukraine, Germany were heading for their first trophy in 16 years. Then Italy's Mario Balotelli knocked them out. The striker's first goal in Warsaw came from an Antonio Cassano cross. Hummels had been close to the little fantasista -- very close -- but still failed to block the centre.

Joachim Low, who was put through the grinder by the German media after the 2-1 defeat to Italy, implicitly blamed the then-23-year-old Hummels for the goal, and the player felt hard done by, and not for the first time. Low had publicly rebuked the Dortmund defender for playing too many long balls out from the back prior to the tournament, and there was more than a suspicion that the conflict-averse coach had not taken kindly to the player's very confident demeanour, too.

"I'm not the kind of guy who straight away goes to the back of the queue, where I should have been at the time," Hummels said a few weeks ago. "Maybe I saw myself in a higher position in the [team's] hierarchy than I really was. It's possible that I came across a little insubordinate in the beginning."

It's not just possible -- that was certainly the case. "At the German FA, they don't like criticism," Hummels said in September 2013. A bemused Low replied: "He needs to explain that to me."

It wasn't just his personality. Hummels, the most elegant, skilful centre-back that German football has produced in a very long time, was at the centre of tension in the national team because of his background, too. He used to be a Bayern Munich player as a teenager and his father worked for the club as a coach. In 2008, when Jurgen Klinsmann was in charge, Bayern loaned him to Borussia Dortmund and then they sold him, in February 2009, for a mere 5 million euros. They didn't quite believe in him. Two years later, Hummels was a mainstay at the Signal Iduna Park for Jurgen Klopp's wonderful title winners. Bayern tried to buy him back with the help of an option in his contract, but he publicly refused. The Bavarians didn't appreciate getting turned down in that manner.

In 2012, Hummels was the outspoken leader of the Dortmund group (including Marcel Schmelzer, Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan and the Dortmund-born Marco Reus, who was about to move back to his hometown after the tournament) within the German squad. The Bayern contingent came into the Euros on the back of a soul-destroying Champions League final defeat to Chelsea in the Allianz Arena and two second-place finishes behind Dortmund in the cup and championship. The fight for places became political, factional.

On top of this Reds vs. Black and Yellows split in the camp, there were individual players who didn't accept being on the bench. "It was very bad," says one unnamed member of the squad who is still a regular today.

The problems didn't go away after Germany's exit at the hands of Italy, however. If anything, they became more pronounced. Hummels, like Klopp, would talk about Bayern players getting preferential treatment ("It's easier to get into the national team if you're at Bayern," the defender said). Low didn't make much effort to hide his preference for Bayern's slower, more possession-based buildup, either.

Hummels found himself on the bench in key World Cup qualifiers. He wasn't happy and let his frustration be known inside the dressing room. The German FA has managed to keep the full story under wraps to this day, but the situation was so dire that the players' council had to intervene. All those words of warning from Low and some of the more experienced players -- telling everyone to "get in line," as Philipp Lahm said, in the months before the World Cup -- were, to some part at least, directed at Hummels.

Per Mertesacker and Jerome Boateng were set to be partners in the heart of the defence in Brazil, so Hummels' willingness to wait for his chance was bound to come under the spotlight. It didn't work out that way, though. Lahm's move into midfield saw Boateng fill in at right-back, and Hummels was back in the team. We'll never know if he's really learned to be more of a team player -- Mertesacker clearly did get fully behind the team from the bench when he was left out against France -- but it's his actions on the pitch that matter.

Hummels has not only scored two goals but has also become the de facto leader of the defence and surprised everyone with his consistency. He used to have an unfortunate habit of trying to look too nonchalant. No more.

"The way he fought for the ball was sensational. He's always in the right place," Low said after the 1-0 victory over France. Hummels had won 71 percent of his duels, and centre-backs very rarely manage a better success rate. Gazzetta dello Sport described him as "a giant."

Hummels, clever guy that he is, played down his defensive masterclass. "I was just lucky to be in the right spot," he said after a performance that was well worth his Man of the Match award. He has become the face of this team, one of three players who have fully convinced in Brazil and taken Germany within two wins of writing history. Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller are the other two.

On a relationship level, things have changed as well. "Low and I needed some time to get used to each other," Hummels said recently. "Now the process is over."

You sense that the manager has learned to trust the player and vice versa. It's helped that there is less of a power struggle between the big characters behind the scenes, and tactically, Low's undogmatic approach -- he still preaches possession but is no longer opposed to a more direct route to goal if the opportunity arises -- has also blurred the battle lines.

It would be foolish to believe that the good vibes at Campo Bahia could survive a third successive semifinal defeat at a big tournament, even if the atmosphere is indeed much less fraught, compared to the Euros in Eastern Europe. But for 2012 to be truly over, Hummels and Low must first consign that defeat to Italy to the history books and turn to a new page. Getting past Brazil in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday would do the trick.

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/world-cup-central/59/post/1936464/honigstein-mats-hummels-finds-harmony-with-germany-squad-at-last
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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:58 pm

Nationalspieler Toni Kroos: Der kühle Zusteller

Toni Kroos spielt eine starke WM, doch bejubelt werden andere. Dabei ist der Wert des Mittelfeldspielers für seine Mannschaften kaum zu überbieten. Künftig will er das auch bei Real Madrid beweisen.

Es ist etwas merkwürdig. Toni Kroos spielt bei diesem Turnier auf konstant hohem Niveau, er schlägt die Freistöße, die Mats Hummels per Kopf verwandelt, sein Stammplatz bei dieser WM stand nie in Frage - dennoch gehören die Jubelgesänge anderen: Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, selbst ein Ersatzmann wie André Schürrle scheint mehr Beachtung zu finden als der 24-jährige Münchner.

Kroos kennt das. Den Platz in den Herzen der Fans hat er selten gefunden. Er wird den FC Bayern zur neuen Saison verlassen, sein Wechsel zu Real Madrid steht laut "Marca" und "Süddeutscher Zeitung" fest, und die Reaktionen selbst heißblütiger Bayernfans in den sozialen Netzwerken kann man wie folgt zusammenfassen: Ja, schade, aber es gibt Schlimmeres. Es ähnelt einem Achselzucken. Kroos hat bei den Bayern in dieser Hinsicht ein Schicksal wie einst Michael Ballack: Auch der ehemalige DFB-Kapitän war ein großartiger Fußballer, aber als er ging, weinte in München niemand.

Bei der Pressekonferenz im deutschen Mannschaftsquartier in Porto Seguro wird er gefragt: "Herr Kroos, fühlen Sie sich in der Öffentlichkeit unterbewertet?" Er hat pflichtgemäß mit Nein geantwortet, aber er hätte eigentlich Ja sagen müssen.

Fähigkeiten sind mittlerweile unbestritten

An seinen Fähigkeiten kann das nicht liegen. Die sind überragend, und das erkennen mittlerweile auch jene, die ihn nicht so mögen und seine zurückhaltende, manchmal kühle Art für Arroganz halten.

Kroos ist im Mittelfeld der Nationalmannschaft derzeit unverzichtbar, um ein Lieblingswort von Bundestrainer Joachim Löw zu zitieren. Kroos als Bindeglied zwischen Defensive und Offensive, als Mann für die feinen Standards, die plötzlich beim DFB wieder angesagt sind, als Passgeber und Zusteller. Kroos macht vieles, und er macht vieles richtig.

"Ich versuche hier einfach das umzusetzen, was wir uns vorgenommen haben", sagt er. Und das sei, "unser Spiel flach nach vorne zu bringen". In einem Mittelfeld, über dessen Zusammensetzung im Turnierverlauf immer und immer wieder diskutiert wurde, ist er die einzige Konstante. Kroos ist topfit, er ist in Top-Form, er könnte ein Superstar dieser WM sein.

"Wir erkennen die hervorragende Entwicklung eines jungen Spielers", sagt Assistenztrainer Hans-Dieter Flick über Kroos, der Trainerstab sei "absolut zufrieden mit seiner Einstellung". Er betont dies noch einmal so ausdrücklich, weil gerade daran in der Vergangenheit gezweifelt wurde. Die Vorwürfe, er tauche bei den wichtigen Spielen ab, kann und mag er nicht mehr hören. Und sie bleiben ihm doch selten erspart.

Vor dem Halbfinale gegen die Brasilianer erinnern sich manche an das Semifinale der EM vor zwei Jahren. Kroos war mit der Bewachung von Italiens Regisseur Andrea Pirlo überfordert, nach dem Spiel wurde er mitverantwortlich für das Ausscheiden gemacht. Vor vier Jahren beim WM-Halbfinale in Südafrika gegen Spanien vergab er nach seiner Einwechslung die größte Torchance, Deutschland schied aus.

"Alles andere als der Titel als Misserfolg gedeutet"

All das hat der Noch-Münchner nicht vergessen, auch deswegen macht er bei dieser WM einen so zielstrebigen Eindruck: "Wir sind alle hier hergekommen, um den Titel zu holen", sagt er. "Alles andere wird ja doch als Misserfolg gedeutet."

Nach der WM vor vier Jahren wechselten Sami Khedira und Mesut Özil nach Madrid, Kroos macht es ihnen nach. Er sagte der Münchner Zeitung "TZ": "Es gibt eine Entscheidung, mehr kann ich nicht sagen." Hintergrund ist das Verbot der Fifa, während der WM Vertragsverhandlungen zu führen. Kroos ist damit der Erste seit langem, der aus freien Stücken den FC Bayern verlässt, ohne Not, er hätte auch in München unter Josep Guardiola beste Perspektiven gehabt. Anders als Mario Gomez vor einem Jahr, anders als Mario Mandzukic jetzt, beide spielten in den Plänen Guardiolas keine Rolle mehr.

In Madrid trifft er auf ein Mittelfeld, in dem sich die Weltklassespieler nur so tummeln. Von Luka Modric über Ángel Di María bis Xabi Alonso, von Khedira bis Isco. Man kann sich fast gar nicht vorstellen, dass da noch Raum ist für Kroos. Andererseits hat er bisher immer seinen Platz gefunden.

Bei Real Madrid zählt nur Leistung, sonst nichts. Toni Kroos wird das entgegenkommen.

http://www.spiegel.de/sport/fussball/toni-kroos-offenbar-mit-real-madrid-einig-a-979638.html
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Allez les rouges

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Allez les rouges on Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:04 pm

Axeslammer wrote:
Allez les rouges wrote:More boring than whom, exactly? Brazil, Holland, Argentina? Good one Smile We know what happened to Colombia and France.

Spot on (except for mentioning France) ok

Colombia were the only non-boring team in the final 8.

*all* of the teams in the semis play boring football, 3 of them will look like fools.....because the only justification for playing boring is to win the whole damned thing Ale

Cheers Axe – but why would you claim that France didn't play good football? scratch

Of course they weren't allowed to on Friday, but not buying that.
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Axeslammer

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Axeslammer on Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:09 pm

Allez les rouges wrote:
Cheers Axe – but why would you claim that France didn't play good football? scratch

Because I didn't think they were playing good football.

Maybe their intention was good, but their execution not...

Colombia are the sole winners of the tournament in that aspect IMO Smile

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Super Progress on Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:55 pm

Axeslammer wrote:
Allez les rouges wrote:
Cheers Axe – but why would you claim that France didn't play good football? scratch

Because I didn't think they were playing good football.

Maybe their intention was good, but their execution not...

Colombia are the sole winners of the tournament in that aspect IMO Smile


 ok 
In terms of fluidity only Colombia passes the test. France were better than others but you could tell they weren't anything like the well functioning Colombians. In a way it is obvious why. Their midfield kept together despite the fact that they had 3 midfielders who like to occupy similar places but it worked relatively well. I suspect that if France is going to become a big side they won't do it with those 3 together.
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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Fey on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:58 pm

Allez les rouges wrote:
Fey wrote:Wanted to post this before the game...but I still can post it:


SBN wrote:Why Germany are boring

Four years ago, Germany was full of bright, young, electric players. But they were too inexperienced. They lacked star power. They couldn't possibly be as good as the German teams of yore.
And yet there they were in the semifinals.
Mesut Özil became a star and joined Real Madrid shortly after the tournament. Sami Khedira joined him at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Thomas Müller proved to be just as good as his Bayern Munich teammates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm. Only a 73rd minute goal by Carles Puyol kept Germany from reaching the final.


By the time Germany's run came to an end, they had scored 16 goals in seven matches. They were stocked with brilliant attacking talent and had more waiting in the wings, with the likes of Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, Marco Reus, André Schürrle and Julian Draxler in the pipeline. They even had Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber ready to take over at the back.
Perhaps Germany were too inexperienced in 2010, but they were plenty talented and the star power was there. It was only a matter of time before they took over the world, and they would do it with the most brash, exciting style of play to boot.
So how is it that they're the most boring team left in the 2014 quarterfinals?

Germany have become slow and plodding. Their supposed stars have slumped, playing supporting roles at their clubs and failing to shine for country.
Özil was one of Germany's worst players in the round of 16 before scoring the second goal (through no fault of his own), and at no point has been the brilliant creator many thought he would be four years ago. Meanwhile, Kroos has been average, Goetze hasn't looked anything like a star and Draxler still hasn't seen the field.
Of course, those three can consider themselves lucky to even be on the field.
No World Cup team has been as decimated by injuries as badly as Germany. Reus was sidelined just before the tournament, Badstuber has been out more than a year, Ilkay Gundogan was injured months ago and Mario Gomez, Sven Bender and Lars Bender also missed out through injury.
Even a handful of players who made the team haven't been able to stay out of the trainer's room, as Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Sami Khedira and Manuel Neuer have all had issues that kept them out of training for long stretches. Some struggle to go 90 minutes, let alone the 120 that extra time could ask of them.

This team was supposed to have Hummels and Badstuber anchoring the back line, with the world's best fullback Lahm, next to them. Gundogan would have been the transition man in the middle, making the passes to spark the attack, while Schweinsteiger did anything and everything. His was the bone-crunching tackle, the magnificent through ball, the 25-yard laser. Reus, Özil and Müller would have been in front of them, or maybe Götze would have, with Müller up top.
The possibilities were endless for this super team, which should have had a great, if not world class player at every position bar left back. Their greatness would have only been exceeded by how much fun they would have been.
Instead, they are anything but fun.
Nobody has mastered the sideways pass 30 yards from goal quite like the Germans. Their most incisive play is a through ball to an overlapping runner near the byline, 20 yards wide of goal. Few teams in the tournament play as slowly as they do, and to add to the frustration they've shunted the world's top fullback into the central midfield so that a pair of center backs can play in his standard position.

To call watching Germany play 'tedious' would be kind, and the only thing that makes them even the slightest bit worth watching is Müller in hopes that we'll somehow work out the answer to how this average-looking, awkward athlete is sublimely good at football.
Germany are effective. They have four wins from four World Cup matches and in a tournament devoid of great teams, they are as likely to emerge champions as anyone else, etching their name in football history alongside some of the greatest teams to ever play the game.
But no matter how deep Germany go, even if they win the World Cup, there will still be that "what if?" What if they were healthy? What if they were fun? What if they were the team we thought they would be four years ago, one truly worthy of standing next to the best the World Cup has ever seen?

Ha, daß ich nicht lache – loving this Biggrin (you getting desperate Fey, quoting a "Rosenblatt"? Then again you are doubtless one of the few Dutchies quibbling with van Gaal's tactics, so fair enough... Wink )

"This article is so negative it must have been written by a German" as someone says below. Let's say it again, rather be boring than do the same as usual, impress and go out, as Per "Eis Eis Tonne" Mertesacker said (before being dropped). More boring than whom, exactly? Brazil, Holland, Argentina? Good one Smile We know what happened to Colombia and France.

It is an issue (apart from the player who's so obviously missing – too many players who are either predominantly direct or creative, but not both), but the 4-3-3 is more defensively stable than the 4-2-3-1 – shame for Özil, who really needs to produce something, but only one thing counts at this stage. Think it probably still makes sense to start one of Özil or Götze if only for creativity.

The ceiling is of course a lot higher and of course we will need to get closer to it from here on in.

Brazil and Holland are above their ceiling already, Germany isnt. A bit like yourself this WC ok
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Allez les rouges

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Allez les rouges on Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:07 pm

Axeslammer wrote:
Allez les rouges wrote:
Cheers Axe – but why would you claim that France didn't play good football? scratch

Because I didn't think they were playing good football.

Maybe their intention was good, but their execution not...

Colombia are the sole winners of the tournament in that aspect IMO Smile


If smashing six (in reality) past Switzerland wasn't good football then I want some of what you're having...

Seriously, I see the point about the central three – full of power and solidity, but ultimately lacking a bit in creativity; but it wasn't until the quarter-final that that was shown up, really. You need a blend of fluidity and solidity, which seemed pretty ideal in their case..
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:36 pm

40 years ago our team won the WC - a great experience. I hope our boys will enjoy the same feelings in a few days.


https://twitter.com/beckenbauer/status/486152172535812097
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:01 am

Honigstein chats with Oliver Bierhoff

Oliver Bierhoff knows how to win a trophy. The 46-year-old former AC Milan striker scored the winning goal for Germany in the Euro 1996 final against the Czech Republic at Wembley. Bierhoff, the German national team's general manager, took some time out ahead of the semifinal against Brazil on Tuesday to take a phone call from ESPN FC and talk about Germany's chances, as well as their use of technology to get an edge over their opponents.

Raphael Honigstein: Mr. Bierhoff, how's the mood in camp ahead of the semifinal versus Brazil?

Oliver Bierhoff: The team is very steady, very serene. I've been to many tournaments, as a player and as a general manager, but I've never seen a team that celebrate so little after winning a quarterfinal. They have been completely focused, they don't want the journey to be over. I think the trip to Rio (for the France game) also helped because it gave everybody a huge incentive to get back to the final at the Maracanã. The concentration has been incredibly high, but there's just the right amount of feeling at ease too.

RH: Nobody wants a third playoff game for third place. Would this World Cup still be rated a success if Germany don't make it to the final?

OB: For me, yes. We want to win the trophy, at all cost, of course. But anything can happen in semifinal or a final. You can be at your best and still lose. Or you can win with a bit of luck. The difference between the teams is so small. All I can say is that the players really want to win the trophy.

RH: How do you see the game against Brazil?

OB: They will be a tough opponent, even without Neymar and Thiago Silva. They will move closer together as a team. Our scouts have watched Brazil for four years. We have the data from the games without Silva and Neymar. We can show our boys how the players who will come in for Brazil move. We have devised an app that allows us to use this analysis on mobile devices. The data can be filtered so quickly that we will have the key scenes from the new attacker who will come in place for Neymar, for example, instantly. We can give the defenders two or three meaningful clues. We have found that this tool works really well because it's visual and intuitive.

RH: Can you give us another example of how football analytics are being used by the German team in Brazil?

OB: We have found that players like communicating via their digital devices. So with the help of our technology partner, we came up with an app that allows us to send short clips of analysis to individual players or groups of players from different parts of the team. Every player gets a couple of examples of him doing things well and badly straight after the game. They can look at it on their own time and also check their performance data. That's much more useful than showing a 90-minute video tape, as they used to in my time. The players appreciate that sort of feedback. We also have a lot of qualitative data for the opposition available. Jérôme Boateng asked to look at the way Cristiano Ronaldo moves in the box, to use another example. And before the game against France, we saw that the French were very concentrated in the middle but left spaces on the flanks because their full-backs didn't push up properly. So we targeted those areas.

RH: Is there more confidence since the win against France? The 2-1 versus Algeria had thrown up lots of doubts.

OB: These doubts were voiced outside the camp, but inside the team, everybody stayed very calm. One of my main jobs is to take out the drama a little bit. You can't let the emotions get too close to you, especially those that come from outside the team. After the 4-0 versus Portugal in the opening game, I had sponsors call who wanted to discuss what we could do if we won the World Cup. A couple of days later, after the 2-2 versus Ghana, everyone was more doubtful. These reactions are very extreme, and they can change with every game. You have to isolate yourself from that. We have managed to do that well, in my view. And sometimes I have to tell the players: It's a game -- it's sport.

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/world-cup-central/59/post/1938895/german-legend-oliver-bierhoff-is-general-manager-for-the-german-side-in-the-world-cup-semifinal-versus-brazil
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:48 pm

According to BILD, Tuchel could become Löw's new assistant after the WC (Flick is going to be the new DFB sporting director, as already known). If that's true, I wouldn't have a problem with Löw staying after the WC, as Tuchel's tactical nous would be a great asset and he could gain experience on the international level first before taking over the NT later on. Would be a very good solution actually.

There are also rumours that Löw will fully resign after the WC. Then, Tuchel would take over completely, as DFB president Niersbach is supposedly quite fond of him. Not sure if he is ready for the big stage yet, but I do rate him highly.

http://www.transfermarkt.de/-bdquo-bild-ldquo-bericht-tuchel-neuer-assistent-von-bundestrainer-low-/view/news/165246
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Juligen

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Juligen on Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:54 pm

To my Germans friends, I need to congratulate all of you for such football lesson, its one for the books and I will never forget this game in my life.

There are no other team that I wish more to win this WC than you, you have won the hearts of Brazilians with your sympathy and your football. So I truly wish success to Germany and hope you can get your fourth star  <Ale> 
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:14 pm

Thank you for your sportsmanship Juligen, that is really classy, especially when you compare that to todo's comments about Germany being "Brazil's bitch" and what not before. I couldn't believe what was happening in the first half to be honest, i was really baffled. I knew what our team is capable of, but I still would have never expected this.

I hope that Brazil draw the right conclusions after this match and understand that focusing on physicality and aggression in the development of their players and tactics is the wrong way. Athleticism is important, even aggression is, but far more important are skill and creativity. "Joga bonito" may be a Nike invention, but Brazil do have a rich tradition of great football, beatiful football, and I hope that Brazil will go back to their roots. You will be back, I know it. <Ale>
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debaser

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by debaser on Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:15 pm

time for an apology for all the Löw-doubting or will he only get that if/when you win the final Wink

congrats on tonight Ale I literally cannot imagine seeing one of my teams win like that.
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:18 pm

debaser wrote:time for an apology for all the Löw-doubting or will he only get that if/when you win the final Wink

Only when we win. Nothing still won yet, but at least the "semi final mental block" has been overcome, so credit to him and especially the team.
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Xavier

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by Xavier on Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:21 pm

flaccid = not even once in 90 minutes

If Loew pulls this off I will never be more happy to be wrong about something....
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blutgraetsche

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

Post by blutgraetsche on Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:26 pm

I am still baffled. 5-0 after 30 minutes. I was sitting there, totally calm, and was just staring at the TV, like a zombie. Unbelievable. What a night!

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Re: DIE WELTMEISTER!!

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