There’s universal agreement that Germany was the best team at the World Cup and deserved to win it. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was absolutely superb, giving up only four goals in seven games. Of course, it helps that the defenders in front of him, Jerome Boateng and Philipp Lahm in particular, were air-tight, thus making things a touch easier in what is considered the zenith of the national team’s decade long journey to get here.
A journey that began in 2004 with the hiring of Jurgen Klinsmann. The current U.S. Men’s National Team manager came in and shook the very foundation of German soccer to its core, changing the joyless, stringent approach often associated with the team for a more progressive, attacking style of play.
Klinsmann needed to establish young cornerstones to see his vision through: Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker. That’s 4 players on the current roster of this year’s World Cup winning team, although the latter two were reserves. Mertesacker was quick to give Klinsmann credit saying they were only continuing what he started, but not everyone agreed as evidenced by the German media’s brutal treatment of him. Perhaps with time and now signature hardware, Klinsmann will be judged differently. He certainly deserves it.