OT - Euro Quarterfinals - Germany vs. Greece

Submitted by Yeoman on June 22nd, 2012 at 2:22 PM

It's a tribute to the strength of Group B that Loew has waited until the first knockout round to rest his attackers: Gomez, Podolski and Mueller have given way to Klose, Schuerrle and Reus. Karagounis and Holebas are suspended for Greece; Ninis is on for Gekas.

Found an interesting article on the renaissance of German football. A lot of people here have given Klinsmann the credit for that; I've tended to primarily credit Loew. But the real driver was an unknown DFB functionary named Bernd Pfaff, and the go-ahead was given by, of all people, Berti Vogts.

I've long had the theory that the strength of a national team ultimately depends on the effective size of its pool of players, which I suppose means the number of youth players who, if they were talented, would be discovered and given the training necessary to develop that talent. Pfaff implemented a plan that increased Germany's effective pool about a hundredfold. It's fascinating reading. It's also in German, of course. I hope the online translation tools treat it kindly.

Anyone interested in seeing what it would involve to push US soccer to the top should take a look.

DFB Der Plan von der Abschaffung des Rumpelfußballs






June 22nd, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

I would have to disagree with your theory a bit. 

My view is that it isn't so much of the effective size of the player pool, but the type of players selected into the player pool.  In the US we suffer from the NFL/NBA mentality where we just pick and select the most athletic kids early on.  Soccer is a sport unlike basketball or football where you can get away with things by using pure athleticism because there is a high level of technique required.

We need to be looking for the David Silvas of the world instead of the Brek Sheas.

I think Eric Wynalda is doing great things to change the culture and mindset of soccer in the US. 

swan flu

June 22nd, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

Many people agree with you.


I adamently do not.


The American system is backwards.  Kids have to pay to join succesful club teams and the #1 goal of almost every soccer player in the US is to get a college scholarship.  In Europe and S. America, the best kids get PAID to play for major clubs, and their #1 goal is to play professionally.  There is no major scouting network for the national talent pool like there is in other countries (like what the OP said), and until there is, the best kids are going to slip through the cracks or never reach their potential.


It is changing, though.  I can see our system becoming more like Europe, which is good.  You will start to see dividends pay off when kdis like Josh Gatt, Marc Pelosi, Vilyan Bijev, Joe Corona, Alejandro Guido, and Jack McBean get a bit more experience professionally (all of those players are playing in Europe or Mexico except McBean)



swan flu

June 22nd, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

perhaps we do.


I perceived your argument as: all our best athletes play other sports


Which I don't disagree with, but I don't think it has anything to do with our poor form as a nation. But re-reading your argument I think that was only a small part of what you were saying, and we agree on everything else


June 22nd, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

Very true.  Arsne Wenger has said that if you do not have the technical skills by the time you are 16 you most likely wont develop them in time to play professionally in Europe.


June 22nd, 2012 at 2:39 PM ^

Good move by Loew.  Klose has to be chomping at the bit to add to his career goals for Germany.  Gomez and Mueller deserve a break in that they have been playing pretty much nonstop this calendar year.

Will read the article at home with Chrome; stuck wil an old version of ie at work.




June 22nd, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

Greece, the profligate spenders, forced into austerity by the stern German banking authorities.  The tableau of current events adds a nice touch of drama to the match.


June 22nd, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

to this classic Greece vs. Germany matchup.  Truly a clash of titans.  

Schopenhauer v. Socrates.

Hegel v. Plato.

Nietzsche v. Aristotle.




June 22nd, 2012 at 3:53 PM ^

Greece has had possession for 19% of the first half and completed 46% of their passes.

Edit: confirmed by the Guardian. Possession is 82-18, shots are 15-2.


June 22nd, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

But the real story is... since when did "Seven Nation Army" become the de facto German fan chant?  I find this troubling but can't explain why.


June 22nd, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

long before it had been heard in any stadium in the States.

And the promoters are playing it over the PA after every goal in this tournament; it only seems like it's the German's song because they've score so many goals.


June 22nd, 2012 at 4:25 PM ^

at least the Greeks are well-practiced at the national humiliation thingie by now.  

Germans might want to call off the dogs at this point or it just reinforces perceptions that they're bullies.  On the other hand, there's something shamefully fun about watching a true beatdown.



June 22nd, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

If nothing else, we still have the Guardian's reaction to Greece's goal...


GOAL! Germany 1-1 Greece (Samaras 55) She's a man! The cripple is Keyser Soze! Ed Norton is Tyler Durden! And Greece have scored! What an amazing twist. Salpangidis, the beard to be feared, surged down the right onto an excellent pass and then sidefooted a magnificent low cross between the German defenders and the keeper Neuer. Samaras, sliding in four yards from goal, forced it gleefully through Neuer and then charged off to join an almighty Greek huddle. What an astonishing twist. "Greece have wiped the debt out!" screams Peter Drury on ITV. Oh, Peter.


June 22nd, 2012 at 4:45 PM ^

I don't understand the ESPN discussion of the German team selections. Hasn't it occurred to anyone that they might want to rotate their roster a bit just to spread the fatigue around? When you're playing a match every four days you don't want to have to send the same eleven out every time. This isn't any diffrerent than a club team resting some players in their league match over the weekend to have them ready for a CL game in mid-week.



June 22nd, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

I think the confusion comes from it being a knock out game when, presumably, you'd put your "best" lineup out there. The truth is, of course, that 1. Germany were probably in more danger of being knocked out against Denmark than this game, and 2. Reus for Mueller and Klose for Gomez are pretty close to even swaps, and only Schurrle for Podolsky was really a step down, and that because Schurrle had a pretty poor game (though not as bad as Schweinsteiger, surprised Low didn't take the opportunity to rest him a bit after the third).


EDIT: The Reus/Mueller; Schurrle/Podolsky pairings may be the other way, given that Mueller came on for Schurrle. At any case, I thought only Schurrle looked like any type of step down. The truth is that as long as the Ozil - Khedira pairing is playing well, Germany is going to be potent offensively regardless of who they play up top and on the wings.


June 22nd, 2012 at 11:33 PM ^

Renaissance of German football?  They made the World Cup final in 2002, the WC semis in 2006, the Euro final in '08 and the WC semis in 2010.  I'm not sure they ever needed a "rebirth."


June 23rd, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

...when even with the influx of formerly East German players they crashed out of the WC in the quarterfinals to Croatia and Bulgaria, then didn't even get a win in 2000 and 2004 ECs.

Of course they were still a competent side even at their worst, but this is Germany we're talking about. They made the semis in, what is it now, 20 of 28 major tournaments they've competed in? Half of the failures were in that single decade; it hasn't happened since.