Germany worthy World Cup winners as Bundesliga and Joachim Loew prove their value
Germany claim victory against Argentina with substitute Mario Goetze scoring the only goal of the match.
Joachim Loew's side was unbeaten, and won six of its seven games. The only blemish came in a thrilling group game, when it drew 2-2 with Ghana.
It got to the World Cup final without the necessity of penalties to decide a match, and it only required extra time once, in the round of 16 against Algeria, to progress.
Bright future: Mario Goetze of Germany kisses the World Cup. Photo: Getty ImagesAnd of course it will forever be remembered not just for winning this tournament, dubbed by many to be the best World Cup ever, but for smashing seven past Brazil in the semi-final, quite the most extraordinary result in the history of the game.
In one fell swoop, Germany displayed their credentials as worthy champions in that game, and also laid bare the paucity of this Brazilian side - in the process, perhaps for generations, destroying the image of invincibility that Brazil always took with them on to the pitch, home or away.
It was the first time since 1975 that Brazil had lost a competitive match at home, and the impact could be seen just days later when the Selecao collapsed once more, losing tamely to The Netherlands by a 3-0 scoreline in the third-placed play-off.
Target on their backs: Germany are the world champions. Photo: ReutersNow Germany will be the team with the target on their back, the country that everyone wants to beat.
They will be expecting that, not just in the next World Cup in Russia four years hence but at the next European Championships in France, in two years' time.
But there is every reason to expect this German side to simply get better, which is a daunting thought for all those seeking to depose them.
Germany's head coach Joachim Loew acknowledges the cheers of the supporters. Photo: APOf the starting line-up in the final, only veteran striker Miroslav Klose (36) and captain Philipp Lahm (30) were not in their 20s.
Goal scorer Mario Goetze has just turned 22, Thomas Mueller is 24, Mesut Ozil is 26, Toni Kroos 24, Jerome Boateng 25, Andre Schurrle 24 and several of the bench players are even younger.
This is a German team that, if it stays injury free and focused on the job in hand, can be major players for years to come.
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World Cup final 2014: Argentina v Germany highlightsGermany's team captain Philipp Lahm lifts the trophy. Photo: AP
Jurgen Klinsmann, who coached Die Nationalmannschaft in the 2006 World Cup, which they hosted, opted for a change of style. Germany remained professional, concentrated and efficient, their hallmarks, but they also embraced flair and adventure and went for more technical players.
They also began to reap the rewards of the German immigration policy, a number of players who were the sons of ''new Germans'' coming through to the upper echelons of the game and making the national team.
They finished third in 2006, losing in a thrilling semi-final to Italy.
It was a similar story in 2010 in South Africa. Germany put four past England and four past a rather different Argentina en route to a semi-final loss to Spain, the eventual winners, before taking third spot with a win over Uruguay in the play-off.
That team, coached by Loew (Klinsmann's assistant in 2006) introduced talents such as Mueller and Ozil, and they, and their colleagues, have blossomed into the unit that has triumphed in Brazil.
It is a testament to the development system in the country and the strength of the Bundesliga. Nine of the team who started against Argentina play in their domestic competition.
It is also a tribute to Loew, who has been part of the national programme for a decade and has guided, selected, nurtured and developed these young players to the point at which they are now world champions. Deservedly so.
Germany are top - at least for now. But the football world moves so quickly that nothing can be taken for granted. And the Germans, best of all, know that.