When Germany ousted France from the World Cup 2014, the loss wasn’t treated as a disaster. The French knew that it was just a beginning of a cycle. A cycle which has led them to the road to Paris this Sunday. Joachim Loew, the Germany manager knows very well what the feeling is. In the aftermath of their Word Cup ouster in 2016, calls were made to turn a new leaf. A fresh approach was instilled in the German team, one which Joachim Loew as at helm of. The World Cup 2010 was a testament to his belief in the young squad and his courage was widely lauded. While they eventually succumbed to world champion who were brewing their own legend, the future looked brighter than before.
The Solace of Semi finals is not Enough, Germans on the Path of Soul Searching
The triumph in World Cup 2014 in Brazil was a testament to Loew’s belief that paid off. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Thomas Mueller who had been given the chance of impress finally vindicated the faith shown in them.This time, though the difference is palpable. While there is no dearth of exciting talents at his disposal, the reluctance to use them may have been Loew’s unbecoming.
Schweinsteiger and Khedira, a tale of similarities
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move to Manchester United was looked favourably upon by the German manager, a move that was hope would help Basti put his injury woes behind.Playing under Louis Van Gaal, whom he knew from their time in Bavaria, it was expected that the classy midfielder would rediscover his form that made him indispensable for club and country. What unfolded was a horror debut season. The fact that that his participation was in limbo due to his injury woes puts a serious question mark over Loew’s team selection. Having used as a Sub in all the matches prior to the one against Italy, it was only Khedira’s hamstring that gave him a chance to play close to ninety minutes. Short of match practice, his handball could be the evidence of this very fact. There is not an iota of doubt that he has been a wonderful servant for the national team but it’s time that Loew, who had displayed a distinctive boldness in choosing Youth and overlooking the likes of Michael Ballack for captaincy in favour of Philip Lahm, goes back to the drawing board and revisits the ideas and beliefs that started the successful cycle for Germany in 2010.
The case of Sami Khedira is no different. While fully fit, there isn’t any midfielder better than him in Deutschland, his persistent injury woes, one which have been going on for quite some time threaten to derail his career. His debut campaign with Juventus has seen him limp off many times and seriously had put into doubt the Bianconeri’s Serie A crown.It may have been an omen for the German national team management too.Having battled injry problems, there was a likelihood that he would break down at some point in the campaign. A disruption which could have had serious implications for the national team. The moment,sadly,did arrive and that too with the semifinals looming. These injuries could be a blessing in disguise though. Emre Can, in the only chance he has got against Les Blues yesterday, has shown that he is very much capable of stepping and taking over the mantle from one of these stalwarts. A decision to do so though rests solely in the hands of Loew. His fondness for Schweinsteiger is no secret. His belief in his experience may be a possible hindrance to pull the trigger to finally start seeing beyond the formidable duo of Khedira and Schweinsteiger.
Leroy Sane: The end for Thomas Mueller?
When Leroy Sane was included by Loew in the national squad, it was met with widespread excitement in his homeland. And rightly so. Hi lightning pace and amazing skills have lit up the Bundesliga 2015-16 and is the driving factor behind his rumoured move to Manchester City. The fact that a world class coach like Guardiola wants to work with the german youngster is an indictment of the enormous talent he possesses. Sadly though,Loew’s persistence with firstly Mario Gotze and then with Thomas Mueller resulted in him not having a single kick at the ball in Euro 2016. Joachim Loew is not conservative coach though. He has dealt with the public defiance of former captain Michael Ballack in the past too. His decision to omit the legendary midfielder was a bold decision. One which had heralded the dawn of a new era for the national team. With the likes of Muller and Gotze, one feels that a similar decision needs to be made. This should not be considered as a signal of their national careers ending but a move which could bring additional options to all the areas of the pitch akin to the France national team of the present. With the likes of N’Golo Kante being rested, it’s a luxury many would be envying especially Loew.
No matter how much promise a team may hold, ultimately it’s the trophy cabinet that remind the country how long their Golden generation actually lasted. Just look at the Dutch team of 1974 which revolutionised the game with “Total Football” but has nothing to show for it temselves.