Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 20th 2014 Contents A51
July 20, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
COLIN E H CROFT
What a Fifa World Cup 2014!
What a bruising battle that final
was too. Germany deserves kudos
Brazil, the country, put on a mag-
nificent show, best tournament I
Goals flowed---171---for a joint
record with France 1998.
Few expected Argentina and Ger-
many to produce many goals in that
final, especially on extremely tired
legs that had run for more than a
month, so 1-0 was par for that do-
or-die last effort.
As a neutral, I am not surprised
that Germany won in Brazil. I said
as much in my last article. But the
way that it was done, by absolute
industry and total organisation,
should be copied by most world
sports teams, especially and includ-
ing Brazil s football and West Indies
Also, like so many around the
world, I am already suffering from
severe withdrawal syndrome or as
it is known in the Caribbean,
"tabanka" now that Fifa World Cup
2014 in Brazil is over.
With massive luck, many prayers,
managed and massaged good
health, I will be at XXXI Olympiad
in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Not surprisingly, all four coaches
of the semifinal teams including
Netherlands, Argentina, Germany
and Brazil, had one patently realistic
but pertinent observation: "Win-
ning the World Cup is not easy!"
It was Germany's objective
But obviously, Germany did not
win the World Cup by chance
They put a full development plan
into place after being utterly dis-
appointed and embarrassed in
European Championships 2004,
exiting that competition at prelim-
Germany then worked that plan
to precision and perfection, to a
finite objective, culminating ten
years later in winning the World
The outright, overall work ethic
of the Germans was "Team", with
a capital "T". It was much more a
collective effort than individual
stars, a group mostly growing up
together since Under-21 days.
Perhaps the most profound com-
ment emanating from the German
camp after their success came from
indomitable captain, Philipp Lahm,
probably the world s best central
defender: "Whether we have the
best individual players, or not, or
whatever, does not matter. You have
to have the best team."
Quite so, sir!
Lahm continued: "We stepped
up, time and again, in this tourna-
ment, did not let ourselves get dis-
tracted by any disruption and went
on our way. Then, at the end, you
stand there as world champions---
an unbelievable feeling. This team
has just remained quiet and
Another tough German center-
back Mats Hummels opined more
succinctly: "You can only be world
champion when you act as a team.
We wanted to make that clear to
everyone the whole time."
Conversely, Argentina, almost a
one-man show that was Lionel
Messi, saw a very tired, somewhat
isolated player carrying a team and
country on his shoulders. No team,
in sports or otherwise, is only one
Nauseatingly, Brazil and most of
the world s media allowed them-
selves to be conned by the supposed
presence of some messiah, small
"m", named Nehmar, similar to
Argentina, but Messi is streets bet-
ter.Most of 200 million Brazilians
believed their own absolutely gross
hype. No wonder tears flooded when
Germany and Holland flattened
Even Pele, who should know,
given his teams in 1958, 1962 and
1970, was not impressed by Nehmar.
WI suffers a similar syndrome.
Who, right now, is our cricketing
"Messi" or even "Nehmar"?
When will we win another world
competition, be top or even feature
in the top half of world cricket in
Where is the ten-year plan for
WI to be world champions in ICC s
premier event, 50-overs World Cup
2019 or 2023, if not indeed 2015?
World Cup 2015, a competition
we last won way back in 1979, is
just seven months away.
I would dare anyone to name 11
"good" WI players right now, who
could win ICC World Cup 2015.
Where is our plan for continuity
ala Germany, who appointed
Joachim Loew, assistant coach
2004--2006, to new head coach
when Jurgen Klinsman, USA s pres-
ent head coach, left his Germany
Playing as a team
Who will be WI head coach when
Ottis Gibson finally expires, either
flying the coop or is fired for con-
tinued non-production? Or will we
only go looking again then?
Anyway, the euphoria of winning,
Germany s fourth such success, will
take a lifetime to register fully, but
their doggedness, unbelievably
detailed planning and massive
determination saw them through.
For me, Bastian Schweinsteiger,
Germany s midfielder extra-ordi-
naire, was "Man of the Final." Bat-
tered but not beaten, he epitomised
maturity, attitude and has great
football skills too. He may always
exist in shadows of "Kaiser" Franz
Beckenbauer, but "Schweiny" is the
Schweinsteiger, only 29, one of
the older players, had played 108
games for his country and has taken
over leadership with aplomb and
purpose, laying down his blood for
country, Germany s unofficial vice-
Given that Germany team s aver-
age age now is 26, do not be sur-
prised if most, if not all of this win-
ning team return, much more
focused, infinitely wiser, and better,
to also win in Russia in 2018.
Thank you, Brazil the country
and Germany the team, for putting
on a wonderful, electric show.
Windies, Brazil can learn from Germans
Germany: The 2014 World Cup champions
COLIN EH CROFT
Links Archive July 19th 2014 July 21st 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page