Belfast Telegraph

Comment: Germans are in class of their own and they'll prove it again at World Cup finals


By Graham Luney

Should we just tell Germany they can keep the World Cup Trophy?

There's just no stopping Joachim Low's ruthless machine and it's virtually impossible to put a case for any other country lifting the World Cup in Russia next summer.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has argued that the Germans aren't "invincible" but they aren't far off it.

They won Group C with a 100 per cent record from their 10 games with a goal difference of plus 39, better than Spain's 10 victories and plus 23 goal difference from their campaign before the 2010 World Cup.

Germany scored a total of 43 goals, and they were shared between 21 different players, no player scoring more than five.

They will look forward to the World Cup group stage draw on Friday December 1 with well-placed confidence.

Everyone else will be hoping to avoid them.

When Low's men cruised to a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park - our first competitive defeat at Windsor Park in four years - defender Mats Hummels was their oldest player at 28. That tells you their production line is in fine working order and players should be hungry for success.

It appears that the biggest threat to Germany's hopes of retaining the World Cup is their own attitude and mentality. After becoming the first European side to win the prize in South America, defeating Argentina 1-0 in the decider at the Estadio Maracana, will the motivation still be there?

For players such as Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the 2014 World Cup was a last shot at glory and they grabbed it.

While players have moved on, will stars such as Thomas Muller, Hummels, Toni Kroos and Jerome Boateng show the hunger to feel on top of the world again? The bad news for other countries who are daring to dream is that Low isn't happy with perfection.

"We need to improve in many more areas, deny opponents any chances to score," he says.

"We did what we had to do but with a view to the World Cup there's a lot of work to be done."

That's that then. Name on the trophy.

Belfast Telegraph

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