No one can deny Germany’s deserved success at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. While teams like Brazil, Argentina, and Portugal centered their game around one special player, the Germans went for an all-inclusive style of play, a black and white phalanx of 11 men on the pitch, and reinforcements on the side waiting to come and bolster the team when needed.
To give them more credit, they dealt with a plethora of fitness concerns. Rising star forward Marco Reus was ruled out of the World Cup just before it started after suffering a serious injury in a friendly, while skipper Philipp Lahm and both holding midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira were not fully fit when the tournament got underway. In addition, before their quarterfinal against France seven of Germany’s players were struck with the flu. Still, they overcame all that to lift the cup.
Before the World Cup, Germany coach Joachim Low stated that “there are other important things: family, friendship, and values,” and it was these off-the-field elements mixed together that created Germany’s recipe for success.
A Eurosport report went on to call this Germany side “the best at this World Cup, [as] they exhibited all the qualities required of great champions – skill, discipline, unity, and determination.”
With their latest triumph, Germany is now one World Cup win away from Brazil’s record of five World Cup championships, and will now have four stars above their national badge on their jersey. But should they actually have four stars?
The truth is, they shouldn’t.
That same Eurosport report claimed that “Germany like to win World Cups the hard way. Their first, in 1954, saw them defeat a supposedly invincible Hungarian side.”
Perhaps that rings true for this past tournament as the Germans dealt with injuries, fitness, and illness to lift the cup. In the process, they recorded resounding wins like the 4-0 demolition of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side and the unforgettable and record-breaking 7-1 win against Brazil, who were dealt their worst ever defeat at home and had an unbeaten home record in competitive matches stretching back to 1975 snapped. In that same match, Miroslav Klose also added an individual milestone for Germany as he became the World Cup’s highest ever goal scorer with 16 goals, stealing a record from Brazil as he usurped the striker’s throne previously held by the legendary Ronaldo.
In 1954, however, the recipe for success was quite a different one.