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U better believe it, Germany are the kings

June 30, 2009

“U” is an interesting letter in German. One of the first things that springs to mind is “U-Boot” (submarine) and then there is the “U-Bahn” (underground train) as well as “U-Haft” (jail).

But after Germany’s U21 team won the European championship, thrashing England 4-0 in Sweden on Monday to give the country all three “U” titles (U17, U19 and U21), there’s another “U” word that comes to mind: “Ueber alles” — as in “Deutschland Ueber Alles”.

“U-nglaublich (unbelievable), U-nfassbar (unreal) and U-nwiderstehlich (irresistable),” wrote Germany’s best-selling daily Bild, clearly caught up in the U-fever.

In May, they beat the Netherlands in the final to win the U17 championship it hosted with a national televison audience watching. Last July, Germany won the U19 championship, beating Italy 3-1 in the final. And Monday’s win over England was watched by a record 8.2 million, making it by far the most popular TV show in Germany all week.

England came under heavy fire in their home media for their “pathetic capitulation”, as the Daily Mirror called it or for “suffering yet more agony at the hands of the Germans”.

The Guardian noted that “Goalkeeping blunders are not the sole preserve of the England senior team”.

But in Germany the U21 team were feted as conquering heroes. Stern.de breathlessly predicted this was the team that would win the 2014 World Cup.

“It was great the way they beat England down at first and then played them into the ground,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew, who was in Sweden for the final.

The German DFB (FA) claimed credit for the three titles, with DFB President Theo Zwanziger saying the “good structures” put into place in recent years and the “good work” done by DFB sporting director Matthias Sammer was the reason for the success.

The Bundesliga also took credit, saying they had trained the players. “What I’m especially pleased with is that all the players are from Bundesliga clubs,” said Bundesliga president Reinhard Rauball.

And the German clubs, predictably, said they were responsible with officials from Hertha Berlin and Mainz arguing their good training, investment and talent development programmes had made the difference.

But the big question U have to ask is: Does it all matter? Does winning any or even all of the “Under-” tournaments mean U will later win the Euros or the World Cup?

PHOTO: German players celebrate celebrating after beating England 4-0 in the U21 European Championship final in Malmo June 29, 2009. REUTERS/Bob Strong

Comments

Well we can now make a good quess about who’ll be the future world champions. Many of those talented players will be playing for the national team coming years.

 

I am not sure, but Spain has managed to prove that it is possible. Such things does take time, and it took Spain 44 years before they finally ended their drought by winning another European Championship title last year…over Germany.

I am actually amazed of a sudden, German football is taking credit for the success. Yes, I know their U-17s and U-19s had recently won European Championships at their age level as well. But, had it been the other way round in Malmo yesterday, what will the big brass in German football be saying today? I am very wary given now there is the talk of a ‘golden generation’ coming through, and we saw what happened to England at the World Cup three years ago when they arrived at the tournament with that infamous tag.

Being an England supporter, it was a bittersweet experience following the tournament. I just take comfort in the fact that the England U-21s under Stuart Pearce have gone one step better from being a semi-finalist and being in the final this time. And getting over host nation Sweden in the semi-finals, on penalties. How many times England had managed to do that, at whatever age level it may be? Still, the thought of the Germans beating England to it…not a very nice feeling indeed.

And if I am not wrong, it was the England U-21s whom beat their German counterparts to the tournament in Holland two years ago by a play-off. So, quite a transformation indeed.

 

“But the big question U have to ask is: Does it all matter? Does winning any or even all of the “Under-” tournaments mean U will later win the Euros or the World Cup?”

If Spain is anything to judge by then yes. Otherwise: no.

Germany’s senior side has enough talent already to play better football than they currently do. You need players who get along and can play together, you need to have a good team spirit, you need to have a working hierarchy (whether flat or top to bottom, whatever works), you need the right tactics and substitutions… the list goes on.

But having the luxury of a pool of top class players on every position available to you is something I’m certainly looking forward to in the future.

 

For me the prime example remains the golden Portuguese generation of the early 90′s. With Figo, Rui Costa, Joao Pinto et al they won youth tournaments but once these players moved up to the senior side they didn’t win any major prizes. Despite having played together during Euro 96, 2000, 2004 as well as the World Cups 2002 and 2006. Although by 2006 Figo was one of the few still around from that golden era.

Posted by John Conner | Report as abusive
 

Hi John, I do agree with you that Figo, Rui Costa and all the star players of PURTUGAL, if one of these will get injured the purtugal team will not be as strong as they are before.

 

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