Germany’s 7-1 humiliation of Brazil didn’t just happen overnight – this match was over a decade in the making.
Following their exit from Euro 2000 in the first round, German football underwent massive changes, which paved the way for this team to excel and produce the performance that blew us all away.
Changes were made through all of German football, with a strong emphasis on youth development.
Academies were required in the both divisions of the Bundesliga, the ‘Team 2006’ initiative began, using Germany’s B team to bring through young players (including the A-League’s Thomas Broich) in preparation for Germany hosting the World Cup that year.
As it would happen, six years was an ambitious timeframe to turnaround a team that finished last in their group at Euro 2000, but we saw glimpses of it at South Africa 2010, and since then German football has gone from strength to strength.
Last year’s All-German Champions League final was a huge milestone, with over half the players in the Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich squads coming through the DFB’s talent program. But that feat is merely of what is to come if this messianic squad can bring home the World Cup after a 24-year wait.
You could see the strength of the youth program scattered throughout the German performance.
They cut straight through Brazil’s aggressive midfield with quick passing and movement off the ball.
That first 30 minutes is a terrific example to kids of how to move unselfishly and give options, in particular Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil.
Muller’s run across the box for Miroslav Klose’s goal was perfect, but the passes from Toni Kroos and Bastian Scheweinstiger, that found the runs, were just as well crafted. It was as if the Brazilian midfield weren’t there and, with the back line being twisted and tested, it didn’t take long for the cracks to show. This is a team that has been taught to find space and does it expertly.
The defence is perhaps where this program hasn’t quite flourished, particularly at fullback, but even that is being rectified with Erik Durm of Dortmund likely to overtake Benedikt Howedes for the next major tournament.
The job isn’t done yet, but it is hard not to get carried away with such an emphatic win by the German’s. They hadn’t been at the top of their game since their opening match, but history will forgive them that, especially if they can put in a similar performance on Monday morning.