History Tells Us German Dominance for Years to Come Is Unlikely

Nick MillerFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2014


For understandable reasons, it's quite easy to get carried away when discussing this Germany team.

After all, not only have they won the World Cup, but they have done so with a largely young collection of players brought through as part of a concerted plan to fix the wrongs of past failures.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

What a collection of players, too.

Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world, Philipp Lahm would be most teams' best player in about three different positions, Toni Kroos is set to go from dictating play in Bayern Munich's midfield to doing the same in Real Madrid's, Miroslav Klose is the World Cup record goalscorer and Thomas Mueller will surely take that crown if he continues for another couple of tournaments.

And that's not even mentioning Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Mario Goetze, while the man who has the potential to be the best of the lot, Marco Reus, missed the tournament through injury.

With a side this talented, it is inevitable that there is talk of a legacy, of a team dominating the world stage for years and years, and so it is with this Germany. Indeed, Joachim Low started that trend even before the final, as quoted by the BBC's Phil McNulty:

We have young players who aren't even here and other players with a fantastic future such as Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus, Mesut Ozil, Andre Schurrle and Thomas Mueller.

They can go on to play for a number of years. We can play on top of the world for a good number of years, with some young players coming in to reinforce the team.

One would hardly expect the manager of such a collection of players to say anything different, but these "dynasties" of teams happen so rarely that it's impossible to predict anything beyond this success for Germany.

In recent years, Spain have been the only team to put together such a dynasty, and that was basically a once-in-a-generation freak, a collection of brilliant talents with the same idea of how to play football, guided by two managers who knew exactly how to shape those talents.

Other "golden generations" have burned out, from Croatia in the late 1990s, to Portugal a couple of years later and, of course, the England side of David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard. It takes an extraordinary set of circumstances for this sort of thing to succeed, never mind go on to succeed on multiple occasions.

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Germany are already favourites to retain their title, as per Oddschecker, but anyone betting on that occurrence clearly hasn't heeded the lessons of history. If nothing else, in four years' time, other teams will be stronger, with new ideas and better players, some of whom we have hardly heard of yet.

Spain will have time to regenerate with a new group of players. Brazil won't be quite this shambolic or burdened with unbearable pressure again. Italy have a good crop coming through. Argentina will of course be strong. Even Belgium and Colombia will have an extra four years of experience for their own golden groups.

In any case, such are the physical demands of modern football that long-term dominance is virtually impossible. Perhaps the question about the Spain side that capitulated so weakly in Brazil was not how it happened now, but rather why hadn't it happened sooner?

This was a group of players that, due to international tournaments both important and frivolous, combined with a merciless flogging of their talents by the Spanish FA by sending them on lucrative friendly trips all around the world, were burnt out, exhausted and on their last legs. It's amazing that they managed to win for so long as it is.

These German players are so good that they could well dominate international football for years to come, but history tells us that you shouldn't bet on it too heavily.