June 23, 2012
Germany has wealth of soccer talent
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
WARSAW - They have become German traditions and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they go hand in hand.
Germany has made it to the Euro 2012 semifinal. That is not an unusual occurrence whether it is a World Cup, Euro or other major soccer tournament. Germany simply wins. It would be unusual to see at the least a semifinal without Germany involved. This is their fourth semifinal in succession at a major tournament.
While it has become a usual site to see the Germans go deep into tournaments it is unusual to see a nation repeatedly attain that level of success.
Most nations - even the best in the world - go through dry spells, every one. Italy won the World Cup in 2006 and has struggled since. France won Euro in 2000 and has had trouble since then. It took Spain years to build their successful national team. As for England, it has been looking since 1966 to build a dynasty.
Even when you go down the list of nations away from Europe - Brazil, Argentina - those nations as well have had questions asked about their next generation.
The power to remain at the top of international soccer is about the next generation and no one has protected its future in soccer the way the Germans have.
In 2008 it was a young Bastian Schweinsteiger that began his run in the midfield. In 2010 at the South Africa World Cup, the Germans unveiled Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller, two players not many outside of Germany, and some within Germany, had heard off.
In the quarterfinal Thursday when Germany played Greece, Joachim Loew removed three of his regular starters including Mario Gomez, Muller and Lukas Podolski.
Enter Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle, two players who again were mystery men to many. Reus had an outstanding year in the Bundesliga.
Some suggested that Loew was being disrespectful to the Greeks by starting two players who hadn’t played before.
By the end of the night the Greeks would have preferred having Gomes, Podolski and Muller in the lineup.
The young kids were a revelation. They tore up and down the field and creating chances and looking right at home among the older stars.
Overlooked in the young stars the Germans continue to produce was 23-year-old Mats Hummels. Hummels is currently one of the best defenders in the world. This Euro is his coming out party as well.
Loew indeed has an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Give him credit for making the right choices. It looks as if the team has played together for years.
There is a reason for that and there’s a reason why so many good, young players are produced by Germany.
German teams and German players, play the same way. They are developed at the youth level and play the same way as the senior teams. Most of the top German players stay at home and play in their own domestic league.
This success doesn’t come by accident.
Right now starters Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil play outside Germany but both were raised in the German soccer factory. It’s an easy transition for young players. You merely use your talent to play in a system you are already familiar with.
And while every player wants to play all the time, there are those who have to sit on the bench and suck it up. It’s a rarity that you have to listen to Germany caterwauling like the French or Dutch or Mario Balotelli.
If a teammate does get frustrated and speaks out, it’s usually shut down quickly, mostly because Loew has so many players to choose from that a complainer complains himself right off the team.
“I think every player wants to play all the time. But you could see the coach can bring on different players and it works,” Gomez said. “It's very, very nice for those players that they could play against Greece, as they had nothing to smile about in the first three games.”
Judging by the unveiling of the latest high speed German soccer models, the country is going to have a lot to smile about for years to come.