German captain Philipp Lahm insists he is sick of finishing third in the World Cup as well as the team. Germany head to Brazil in 2014 FIFA World Cup aiming to end their 24-year wait for a rourth World Cup title.
Consecutive semi-final defeats at both of the last two World Cups have led to the Germany National Team taking bronze. With Philipp Lahm in their side it has been 12 years since the German lost the 2002 World Cup final to Brazil in Yokohama, Japan.
After spending a decade in the German national team Philipp Lahm insisted,
“I do not want to go out in the semi-finals again or visit Brazil just to soak up the sun”
Improved counter-attack and tighter defence will be the key areas to coach Joachim Loew in order to break their duck. The German squad is packed with attacking potential, but there have been some rumours with disgruntled stars disrupting the squad’s harmony from the bench as it was happened at both 2012 European Championships and the World Cup qualifiers. Lahm and his team must be sure that the ego and talent of every individual provides only for the squad’s benefit. Since first winning the crown in 1954, the 24-year wait for a title is Germany’s longest. When Germany won Italy 1990-the last time, the youngest midfielder of the current squad Mario Goetze were yet to be born.
Joachim Loew’s strength has been to instill impressive cohesion into his squad by hours of drilling. But the process could be hampered by the injuries and low fitness profile in his first- choice stars. The 54-year old insisted to work on flexibility and variation. He mainly urges on improving counter attacking after winning the ball back. The coach said about the team strategy,
” We haven’t done that as consistently well as we did at the South African World Cup and immediately after.”
The injury becomes unavoidable:
When into a World Cup campaign, it has become a habit for the Germany to suffer from injuries. In 2006 World Cup, Captain Michael Ballack suffered a calf injury while the current skipper Philipp Lahm underwent elbow surgery. In 2010, again Ballack was ruled out by a nasty tackle in the FA Cup final and Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper Rene Alder was out with broken ribs. Philipp Lahm took over Ballack’s absence while Manuel Neuer has taken his place between the posts and he is widely regarded as the World’s best goalkeeper. Four years on however and the fault line runs right along the back-bone of Joachim Loew’s first-choice squad.
The disaster came while Lars Bender withdrew and vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira lack fitness after respective knee surgery. Likewise, Neuer is struggling with a shoulder injury – think how bad it is for a goalkeeper. And the Captain Philipp Lahm is also being treated intensively for an ankle injury.
Loew is now low on options up front with only two recognized strikers in his squad.
The pressure is on for Germany:
Germany have boasted strong leaders traditionally, like- Stefan Effenberg, Michael Ballack or Oliver Kahn. But in recent years when things go wrong, both Philipp Lahm and Schweinsteiger have been criticized cruelly as the world saw in Euro 2012 semi-final defeat to Italy and 2010 World Cup defeat to Spain. According to Ghana midfielder Boateng although Germany have a superior side, they always feel the pressure to be World Champions. They lack characters like Effenberg or Ballack or Oliver Kahn.
In the deadliest Group G of 2014 World Cup Brazil the Germans will face Portugal on June 16. Lets see what Loew’s young side is made of…