Five things Germany must do to avoid the World Cup curse
Written by: Neil Talnikar
Die Mannschaft will be looking to get their campaign back on track as they take on Sweden later on Saturday.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia kicked off with some rather unexpected results. The first round of the tournament was marred by a wave of disappointment as big guns like Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina failed to record wins. It was a shock to the world as defending champions Germany faced a defeat to a comparatively weaker Mexico side in their opening game.
While Die Mannschaft may have most predictions in their favour, they might prove to be the latest victim of the ‘Curse of the Champions.’ Following are some points which the Germans need to consider in order to break the “World Champions’ Jinx” -
5. Avoid complacency at all times
The infamous jinx of the World Cup champions has been a mystery since 1962 when Brazil had successfully defended the title in Chile. Since then, no World Champion, shockingly, has ever defended the title in the next tournament with France, Italy and Spain being some of the victims of the curse.
Whilst analysing this extraordinary phenomenon, most experts believe that ‘complacency’ might be the biggest contributor to the cause. The current squad need to focus more on what is ahead of them rather than relying on their past successes to break the jinx.
4. Rekindle the Spirit of 2014
Die Mannschaft took the World Cup by storm in 2014 with some absolutely magnificent performances, namely against Brazil, Portugal and France.
The squad back then possessed some of the best players in the world who brought forth their outstanding abilities. What was more exceptional from the players was that they played together as one team in harmony. The squad this year, also possesses some of the most talented players and they have the ability to replicate their country’s past success. However, there is a need of a spark which will ignite the whole team.
3. Get the team selection right
This is more of a job for manager Joachim Loew, who is expected to understand the immense potential, the squad withholds. With players like Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Marco Reus in particular, the manager has a set of truly gifted players. The only requirement now is to make these players gel with each other perfectly and lift the whole team up for the upcoming games.
2. Play Muller to his strengths
Even if the experienced Thomas Muller has failed to impress in Germany’s first game, given the opportunity, he can still prove to be a talisman in the upcoming games. The first game saw manager Low play Muller on the wing which is not the natural position of the vice-captain.
Despite of being versatile, he tends to flourish more in a free role as an interpreter of space. What Low could try is to allow Muller to provide support to either of Timo Werner or Reus. This might prove fruitful for the team as both Werner and Reus are exceptional strikers and can use Muller’s help to cause the opposition defence severe damage.
1. Identify a first choice striker
Germany possess a promising set of attackers in the squad this year with Muller in the lead. As discussed above, if he is given a free role in the attacking third, then manager Low has to chjoose from one of Reus, Werner and veteran Mario Gomez to be the main striker.
The manager’s choice remains vital at this juncture as it will decide the fortunes of the Germans. The team needs a good finisher for the upcoming games as they head towards a crucial stage in the tournament.
Published: Sat Jun 23, 2018 02:49 PM IST