Germany advance to yet another FIFA Final
This month’s FIFA Confederations Cup competition is starting to take on a familiar look for Germany. It’s as if it has all happened once before.
Germany’s second five-minute semifinal
Brazil probably remembers the last World Cup finals.
Germany arrived at Brazil in 2014 as one of the favorites, but not THE favorite. The overall favorite at that time was a team from a nation of football-obsessed Portuguese-speaking folk, featuring a list of single-named superstars.
At that tournament, German head coach Joachim Löw appeared to be coaching his way into a lackluster showing at the world’s elite sporting event. Still, he eventually managed to emerge as winner.
It all seemed suddenly to come together in the semifinals for adidas’ favorite group of human billboards.
Three years, same old lieder
Heads must’ve been shaking with sympathy all over Brazil this week. The similarities to the now infamous blizzard at Belo Horizonte were everywhere as Germany dismantled El Tricolores of Mexico in Sochi, Russia, 4-1.
The match was all but over in the first ten minutes. Down two goals, El Tri were forced to a style of play that exposed not so much their own defensive vulnerability as it revealed their opponents’ wealth of counter-attacking options.
Let’s be clear, Brazil in 2014 was very good. And while Mexico in 2017 is likely not as good as that, they are still pretty darn good.
Which brings us to the scariest part of the entire analogy: for Germany, it’s a whole new team. That’s right. The number of players who started the semifinal blowout in 2014 and also started in this week’s win over Mexico is exactly 0. That’s “zero”. As in none, nada, zilch.
Özil, Kroos, Lahm, Müller, Klose, Schweinsteiger, Neuer and so forth. None of these guys were on the field for this second semi-final barrage. A short three years out from the 2014 World Cup and opponents of Germany find themselves facing a whole new generation.
Now, within a week of his teammate Timo Werner earning the accolades, Schalke star Leon Goretzka’s two quick goals against Mexico have made him the latest of “Germany’s latest”.
My goodness how the time flies.
Final act is all that remains
Germany’s reward for defeating Brazil in 2017 was a final matchup with another South American powerhouse led by the best player in the world at the time — Lionel Messi.
Chile armed with formidable players of their own is lurking this time around.
Will Ter Stegen be able to stifle the genius of Vidal and Sanchez? Will all of Chile’s hard work in eliminating the world’s best in Cristiano Ronaldo go for naught? Will the match go to extra time as in 2014?
And will a rising young German star score the winner just shy of the 120th minute mark? You know, Mario Gotze…or whoever.