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COUNTDOWN 25: Ozil’s eyes firmly on Germany’s cup

COUNTDOWN 25: Ozil’s eyes firmly on Germany’s cup
May 21
17:33 2014

The World Cup, as ever, is incomplete without the Germans rolling out their machines.

Germany will aim to end its 24-year trophy drought on the international stage and the playmaker who is set to lead a legion of stars is none other than Arsenal’s record signing, Mesut Ozil.

The FIFA World Cup™ Brazil 2014 is set to be a sophomore for the former Real Madrid star, following a breathtaking maiden appearance in 2010 in South Africa, and the baby-faced playmaker — he led his country into qualification for the Mundial with 8 goals, and he typically saves his best for the national side — will be desperate to give Nationalmannschaft fans the glory days that have been lost to the ‘90s.

Germany has been under increasing pressure to win a major tournament, especially the World Cup, after several close shaves. They have been in the semi-finals of the biggest soccer fiesta in the world for the past three tournaments, finishing at least third on each occasion.

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Qualifying for the World Cup has never been a problem for the Germans, as they have featured in 17 out of the 19 tournaments — missing only the inaugural edition, although they were excluded from the post-World War II edition in 1950. Germany breezed through Group C unbeaten, winning 9 of 10 games; and with 36 goals scored, they were the highest-scoring side in European zone qualifying for Brazil 2014.

Germany are third in the all-time World Cup rankings with three tournament triumphs, behind only Brazil (5) and Italy (4). They have also finished runners-up four times (1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002), and they have come third on four occasions — in 1934 and 1970, and at the last two finals in 2006 and 2010 — playing the most number of games in the history of world cup (99), scoring the most goals (222).

However, despite their envious World Cup record, fans at home and abroad are eager to bring back the cup to where it belongs — Germany, that is — and the man saddled with that burden is coach Joachim Low.

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The 54-year-old one-time coach of Turkish giants, Fenerbache, has been with the national set-up since 2004. He was initially served as assistant to then-coach, Jurgen Klinsman, but he took over permanently when the German legend left the post after the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

‘Jogi’ Low has seen two third-place finishes, and he knows all so well that what the nation craves is the trophy. With an abundance of talent, he is confident of delivering in order for his tenure to be termed successful and for him to be hailed as Die Adler legend.

An already physical team has been upgraded with technical prowess. The team consists of a plethora of young players, such as Marco Reus, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, and Mats Hummels who will join established stars, captain Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, and the wizardly Ozil.

Strength

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Germany boasts a squad filled with world-class youngsters who are more on the attacking front and always deliver goals in a variety of ways, be it finding that crucial pass or hitting the team on the counter or belting a long-range shot. The team’s strength is in the middle of the pack marshaled by Schweinsteiger, while they are experts at protecting a lead.

Weakness

Too much experimentation in over a year has left the team without an identity. The coach has not decided on his favourite tactic; and the earlier, the better. Another problem could be a shaky backline that has been problematic against major opposition.

Last line

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If selected in his country’s World Cup squad, Miroslav Klose will be on a personal mission to become the player with the highest number of goals ever in the World Cup (presently on 14 goals, one behind Ronaldo de Lima). In achieving this, he would become the all-time goal-scorer for Germany, ahead of legendary Gerd Muller, with whom he is currently on 68 goals.

 

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