5 Reasons Why Germany Can Win the 2014 World Cup
Like the grittiest television drama, this World Cup is drawing closer to its conclusion with the tension and twists to keep even the most casual fans glued to their screens.
Germany take on Brazil on Tuesday night in the semi-finals of this glorious competition to see who proves worthy enough to meet either Holland or Argentina in the final on Sunday at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Yet where Germany once stood as uncomfortable dark horses prior to the tournament's kick-off, they have grown into quite an impressive team over the past three weeks and now stand as the favourites to knock out the hosts and challenge for the elusive World Cup trophy.
In a competition beset with no standout competitors, Joachim Low's squad have overcome some of the mightiest teams in the competition and certainly look well equipped to go all the way.
Here's why Germany can win the World Cup.
They Have the Backup
One of the most obvious aspects of this German squad is the sheer amount of talent that flows throughout it. Although there may not be a Lionel Messi or a Neymar of sorts, Low's side play as a solid, functioning machine with plenty of changing parts.
The most obvious example of this is Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle, who has come on late in a number of Germany's matches with the same pedigree as those starting for the side. Where other teams may avoid taking off their best players unless forced to, Low can confidently turn to his bench for a number of viable options.
It's in midfield that we really see the best of German football, with the likes of Mario Goetze, Christoph Kramer, Julian Draxler and others all fighting for the same first-team spots. If a starting player isn't having a good game, they're easily replaced for the good of the team.
Low's team may have no superstars, but it is a side with no shortage of options for success.
They Have the Goals
Germans scoring goals in the World Cup is nothing new. According to World Soccer, of the 12 players to have ever reached 10 goals or more in the competition throughout their careers, four are German, with a fifth in Thomas Mueller just one goal away from joining the club.
Of course, this would come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Germany's fortune throughout this tournament. The aforementioned Bayern striker sits second in the goalscoring charts at this World Cup and may well finish the tournament with a Golden Boot to go alongside any potential winner's trophy.
As if that wasn't enough, Germany can also call upon Miroslav Klose—a striker who has outscored all else but Brazil's Ronaldo in the competition—as well as the likes of Mesut Ozil and Schurrle. If Germany do get knocked out of the World Cup, it won't be from scoring too few goals.
They Have the Tactician
The most underrated member of this Germany squad isn't the goalscoring of irregular inside-forward Mueller, the brave defending of Mats Hummels or even the determination and skill shown from young Toni Kroos—it's their manager and the tactics he brings to each game.
Louis van Gaal may forever hold the title of master tactician at this tournament, but Low has proven himself to be a decisive decision-maker in each of the tests that Germany have faced thus far.
We all noted how well his side played against France after he altered his 4-3-3 system back to a 4-2-3-1, but we should also point out some of his excellent substitutes.
The most obvious one is the exceptional role that Schurrle has played in each game—coming off the bench to wreak havoc on opponents late in the game—but Low has also done well to continually rotate Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger around in midfield to ensure both regain full fitness and keep sharp throughout the tournament.
Add that to the juggling act that he's had to maintain in defence, with the injury to Shkodran Mustafi and the fitness of Hummels, and we have a coach who is perfectly suited to breaking down any obstacle in his team's way. Low is the perfect coach for a tournament like the World Cup.
They Have the Shot-Stopper
It's far from fashionable to accentuate the abilities of a goalkeeper in the modern game. The shot-stopping heroes are there to mop up mistakes as the last line of defence. If you have an in-form keeper—so they say—then you're team simply isn't good enough.
Yet when we think of this German side, many of us will immediately turn our attention to the blond behemoth in goals, Manuel Neuer.
The Bayern Munich star has been in fine form for his nation at this World Cup and has undoubtedly been one of Low's greatest assets throughout the tricky competition. Whether he's sweeping up through balls behind his defence or making tough saves look effortless, Neuer is undoubtedly the best in the world at what he does.
No matter what happens in the semi-final against Brazil and the possibility of a final next Sunday, we can be sure that Neuer will be at the heart of any success Germany go on to pick up.
They Have the Experience
Sure, we all remember 2002. When the might and promise of Michael Ballack's tenacious side eventually met their fate against none other than Brazil. Germany were not crowned champions that day, but we needn't look too far to dig up this country's illustrious history in this competition.
Germany may not have won the World Cup since 1990—24 years and counting, as many fans will begrudgingly remind all—but this is a country that has won the World Cup on three separate occasions and reached the finals seven times.
Such history will constantly be on the minds of Low's side and will undoubtedly help push them over the finish line when they come up against Brazil on Tuesday. Then awaits the final of the 2014 World Cup and a trophy with Germany's name on it.
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