Thursday, November 20, 2008

Germany national team 2008 - Summary

Germany had lost to England 2-1 to end up this year's fixture. To sum up this year, the spirit is so high and were so close to win Euro 2008 in the summer. Then the following World Cup Qualifier Germany had performed well, as well as there were lots of new young guns are coming. Now here's the summary of the national team:

Hot favorite

Germany had tipped to be the hot favor before the Euro 2008. At the beginning of the year Germany mainly focused on playing the warm up matches to prepare the major tournament. From those matches it seemed Germany was one of the favorites to win the tournament as they had very good spirit. The young guns and the experienced players seemed working very well. Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings were the main force in the midfield, even Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose did not perform well in the club. This spirit brought Germany into the Euro 2008 in the high spirit, but at the same time the spirit was overwhelmed the hidden problem and it all showed in the Euro 2008.

Someone has been forgotten

Weeks before Euro 2008 there were lots of analysis to say who should be in the team and who should be not. Similar as former head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, Joachim Löw also brought us surprises. He chose the players without match practice such as David Odonkor, Christoph Metzelder, and Jens Lehmann rather than the players who were fit in club such as Fabien Ernst, Serder Tasci, Mike Hanke, and Marko Marin to play in Euro 2008. I can see Löw would like to choose the more experienced players to play in that tournament, but they were really unfit that they only dragged the team down. Timo Hildebrand was absolutely forgotten as his club, Valencia, ws in trouble in season 2007-2008. In fact, his performance was better and more convincing then Jens Lehmann at that moment as Lehmann had lost his place in Arsenal. On the other hand, Timo Hildebrand performed really well to help Valencia got out of trouble in the league as well as winning the Spanish Cup. These choices led to the difficult Euro 2008 campaign.

Euro 2008: A bumpy ride, and finally crashed

It was out of every fan's mind. It was harder than what they thought. It was supposed to be an easy group stage, especially after beating Poland 2-0 in the opening match. However, the defeat against Croatia showed those players like Lehmann, Metzelder, and Odonkor were absolutely not fit enough. Lehmann kept making mistake and doing some stupid moves, Metzelder was as slow as the snail, and Odonkor was just invisible. Bastian Schweinsteiger was not playing so well in the beginning, but he could pick up in the later stage. Same as the team, the whole team picked up at the later half of the tournament and made fans felt confident that they could actually win the trophy back. The quarter final against Portugal was the best match in the whole tournament. However, the old problem came out again in the final match against Spain. The whole team had lost the composure when the team was trailing behind. The players knew hey had to hurry but they had no idea on how to catch up the match. Spain was totally controlled the match and finally the team crashed out. One good thing however, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski had regain his best form and helped the national team a lot afterwards. Also it showed that Germany is one of the best teams in the world.

Post Euro 2008: Generation Z?

After the Euro 2008, Germany had quietly change the generation. The old players such as Jens Lehmann, Christoph Metzelder, and David Odonkor were fading out of national team due to different reasons. Oliver Neuville was not selected recently. There were lots of new players to replace them, such as Serder Tasci, Heiko Westermann, Marko Marin, and Patrick Helmes were taking over. They were quite inexperienced but they could show themselves that they can be one of the main forces in the national team. Rene Adler, the 3rd choice goalkeeper in the Euro 2008, is the 1st choice goalkeeper now. His performance was so impressing in his debut match against Russia in October and led the team won 2-1. He made at least 3 crucial saves to led the team now at the top of the table in the World Cup Qualifier. Also, Tim Wiese, he was left out in Euro 2008 also gained his spot in the team. These 2 new players meant Timo Hildeband had been forgotten again. He even lost his place in Valencia, again. So if he wants to re-enter into the national team, he should go away as soon as possible.

All sorted (or not?)

There was a pitfall in the end of October to te beginning of November. Kevin Kuranyi was sacked after the match against Wales as he ran away from the team and never came back. This is a total unprofessional move, even he was so angry that he was missed out in the Wales clash (as he was not selected in the 18-man match squad, even he was in 22-man main squad). Kuranyi was doing nothing good for this, so I absolutely agreed what Löw did - kick him out of national squad forever. Afterwards Michael Ballack and Oliver Bierhoff conflict had been heated up. The "bird man" incident caused them to have a huge conflict in the team. Finally Löw, Bierhoff, and Ballack himself had a meeting in early November to sort it out. Yes it could stabilized the morale in the team but I do believe it is just a short term collaboration, as they all have one common target - winning World Cup 2010. Torsten Frings was also complained he lost his starting place but the incident was solved it quickly. These 3 incidents showed that there are lots of conflict in the changeover of the generation in the coming future.

It was just a friendly

Germany had played against England in 19 November and had been beaten. However, I was quite relaxed after the loss as I knew it was just a test game. Both Löw and Capello from England tried new players to prepare for the new year's matches. Obviously England performed better even those 2 goals were very controversial. However, it was a good match as Löw could see where the problem was and he could fix it in these 3-4 months before the restart of the World Cup Qualifier in 2009. Obviously the left flank had lots of work to do, and the players needed to think about how to crack down the tight midfield competition. Also, the bench players had a chance to adept in the national team through matches. It is very beneficial to the national team because the toughest matches are yet to come, and the national team need more covers.

2009: The best is yet to come

I can say in the year if 2009, generally Germany will have improvement in the performance. It is a great moment to changeover the generation of the team, as making changeover in good time is always better than the awful time. New players now have the stable environment to adept and change, and the national team is capable enough to adept changes. Unlike 5-8 years ago, the national team was in the dark ages and the change of the team was just a hopeless gamble. This is the rising moment of Germany, the young players are having more chances to shine in the national team. Also, the U-21 players such as Toni Kroos has the potential to be one of the best players in Germany, and the new players such as Marvin Compper from Hoffenheim is getting more attention to the national team. As there are more covers at the back, Germany in 2009 is predicted to continue to grow. I can say Germany is one of the hot favorites to win the World Cup 2010.

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