Germany’s 6th place in the FIFA world rankings does scant justice to their pedigree and record that includes three World Cups won, in 17 appearances, the last one coming in 1990. But Germany’s history in recent years has been a case of missed opportunities, whether at World Cups 2006 and 2002, or at Euro 2008.
In the qualifiers, however, the European giants performed to potential, twice putting it across Russia, apart from dismissing Wales, Liechtenstein and Azarbaijan.
The man to watch is Miroslav Klose, a crafty striker, with a prolific scoring record. Pudolski, midfielder-cum-striker, is another great prospect. Tragically, Germany have lost their star midfielder and captain, Michael Ballack, to injury, on the eve of the World Cup. They have another talented midfielder in Bastian Schweinsteiger, who will be under greater pressure of expectation, in Ballack’s absence. They also have a great defender in Phillip Lahm. But German fans will lament the absence of Torsten Frings, from the line-up.
However, Germany should have little trouble heading their group D, the other teams being Serbia, Ghana and Australia. In fact, Germany hold a record of sorts, of not losing a single group game, from 1986 onwards.
Their first real challenge should be in the quarter-final, in the form of Argentina. If they survive Argentina, Germany are likely to run into Italy, in the semi-final. In Ballack’s absence, Germany seem beset by an unsurmountable problem. But don’t write them off; like true champions, they are given to rising to the big occasions.