6 Reasons Why Germany Won't Defend World Cup Successfully in 2018
Germany lifted the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Maracana last week after defeating Argentina 1-0 after extra time.
Both sides hustled and bustled, rattling each other with physical play, then Mario Goetze popped up to score a sublime angled strike late on.
As the celebrations simmer down, we take a look at reasons why Die Mannschaft won't be repeating this feat in Russia 2018.
Dynasties Rarely Occur
For Germany to defend their FIFA World Cup title in 2018 would be to buck the trend of recent history in pretty substantial fashion.
Not since 1962 has the trophy been retained, with Brazil lifting it skyward in Santiago, Chile, after replicating their own feat from Sweden 1958.
Dynasties, as we so call them, very rarely occur.
Spain and Brazil Flunked It
Spain and Brazil have both spawned golden generations who have failed to retain the trophy.
The Selecao team of 1970, widely acknowledged to be the greatest international side to grace the game, failed to retain the trophy in 1974 after being outsmarted by the Netherlands' free-flowing football.
Spain—on the back of a dominant 2010 with arguably a better, deeper squad—dropped out in the group stage in 2014.
You think you're set up for a long run of success and something smashes you on the nose. In football, there are no guarantees—even for the truly special sides.
Germany Got a Little Lucky
Germany deserved to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup, no doubt, but they got a little lucky along the way.
The Group G win was aided by a lopsided 4-0 victory over a 10-man Portugal side, and Algeria nearly knocked them out in the round of 16—or at least had them rather worried in extra time.
France pulled a disappearing act just as Die Mannschaft got it together, the worst Brazil side most living Brazilians have ever seen came next, and then Argentina—a side who won their games by war of attrition—fell at the final hurdle.
This wasn't vintage, but it was effective. Will all of the bigger teams look as disjointed and inconsistent in 2018? Highly unlikely.
Joachim Low Is Stubborn
Germany's late success in the tournament came due to two major tactical shifts—putting Toni Kroos as a No. 10 (and therefore switching to a 4-2-3-1) and shifting Philipp Lahm back to right-back.
Joachim Low was forced into the change due to injuries, with Jerome Boateng and Shkodran Mustafi playing right-back ahead of Lahm despite both being centre-backs by trade.
Add in the high line with Per Mertesacker and Benedikt Howedes—a right-footed centre-back at left-back!—and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster that Algeria nearly punished.
If Mustafi hadn't gone down, Low wouldn't have changed a thing, and they probably wouldn't be world champions.
This sort of stubbornness got Luiz Felipe Scolari removed from his job in embarrassment. With the German public already wary of Low, this was a seriously risky game to play.
If Germany are under new guidance by the time the 2018 FIFA World Cup rolls around, which man will be chosen to take the helm?
With the answer to the question firmly up in the air, it's impossible to project how successful Die Mannschaft will be in Russia, as the new man could have different ideas altogether.
This isn't a side ingrained with a tactical blueprint like the Spanish tiki-taka model; it's one that found ruthless effectiveness when it needed it the most.
How transferable is the regime?
Who Replaces Miroslav Klose?
As long as Joachim Low is in charge, Stefan Kiessling isn't getting a look at the national team for Germany.
That leaves a big hole at centre-forward, as Miroslav Klose—set to consider his future and likely retirement, per FIFA.com—bows out from first-team action.
The false-nine system with a polymorphous front four of Mario Goetze, Marco Reus*, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller works in qualifying. However, it lacks presence on the big stage.
Who will step up? Donis Avdijaj has a lot of progress ahead.
*Reus was injured for the tournament and did not play, but a like-for-like presence in Andre Schurrle was used.