This Sunday will decide the World Cup champion. Yet, most nations will ask themselves again what’s needed to build a world-class national team?
The majority will go for the easy answers: great players, great coach. England had both. Some nations, though, might search for more complex answers—as Germany did.
After the French won both the 1998 World and 2000 European championships, the German World Cup winning player and coach Franz Beckenbauer said: "France is a model with its school tracks [combining] sports and studies and its [soccer clubs’] training centers. We are trying to copy… but we will need ten years to catch up with them."
And Germany did. Its football federation completely redesigned the German football system. Its most important new component became the mandatory academy for every professional club which trains future great players beginning from the age of 12.