by Joshua Burns
After one of the most intense World Cup finals I can remember, Germany are once again World Champions!!! This is the fourth World Cup title for Germany, and the first one in 24 years. Germany is also now the first European country to win a World Cup in the Americas. Mario Götze’s late goal will surely be remembered as one of the most fantastic finishes we’ve seen in the world cup final. Moreover, Joachim Löw will have finally met expectations and secured his own place in German World Cup history and now certainly the hearts of fans.
Yet, Germany’s success at the World Stage isn’t by accident. Germany has improved consistently since the disastrous 2000 European tournament that saw the Central European Nation bow out without winning a game. The New York Times in 2012 published an article detailing how the German government helped to change the game. After the aforementioned disastrous result, some soul searching took place in the confines of the DFB offices. Germany needed to find a way to return to the greatness they had experienced just a decade before when they lifted the World Cup Trophy in 1990. They decided some changes were necessary to once again lift the title.
These DFB executives decided to invest in youth. If change were going to come it would need to be built on a solid foundation that would allow for success for years to come. Germany invested over €1 billion into their youth and required of all Bundesliga teams to create and maintain a youth academy with professional coaches. This investment has allowed for talent to be identified and developed at an early age, and continuously developed over time to where German players coming through the youth system are some of the most sought after players in the world (Schürrle, Müller, Götze, Neuer, Kroos and many others). This youth system put in place just 14 years ago, has brought the German Bundesliga to heights it has never seen before where it sent two teams to the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final. That same youth propelled Germany to the 2010 World Cup 3rd place finish and has taken them to the 2014 World Cup championship.
This successful approach to fixing the problems the German team faced has certainly paid in dividends for the new World Champions. That approach might just serve as a template for success for countries who wish to get back to their previous glory (Brazil) and young nations wishing to expand on this year’s success and perhaps expand the popularity of the sport (USA). A strong case can certainly be made that the US has already benefitted from the successful German youth system.
But, to become World Champions took more than just investment, it took heart and character from these young German players, and their experienced leaders on and off the pitch. Germany are once again Weltmeister and are young enough and talented enough to see success for many years!
This was a fun World Cup to blog for, and perhaps I’m a bit too excited to do this write-up justice. The German team has been one that I will remember for a long time, both for their play on the pitch and their willingness to connect with fans off the pitch. The candid shots of the team in training and post-match bus rides was unprecedented and the championship goes to a well deserved fan base and well deserved team. So, thank you to all of you for reading my writing throughout this tournament, and thank you to the staff here at Young Germany for giving me the opportunity to blog to a wider audience. I have been fairly lucky in my days, having blogged for the last two World Championship teams during their World Cup runs! Deutschland!! Weltmeister!!