2010 FIFA World Cup: One Poor Campaign Costs Miroslav Klose The Armband
Three goals in a game for world-renowned striker is a milestone worth celebrating and relishing.
Three goals in a season for a world-renowned striker is an issue that warrants serious concern.
If you hold these statements to be true, then naturally you’d be concerned about Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who netted just three goals in the 2009-10 Bundesliga campaign with Bayern Munich, losing his starting job with the Champion’s League Runner-Ups along the way.
However, Klose’s situation is one that defies the rational thinking of “poor club form equals demotion within the ranks of the national team”.
The Polish-born striker has netted five goals in each of the last two World Cups, winning the Silver Boot in 2002 and the coveted Golden Boot in 2006. His 48 international goals have him ranked second on the all time German scorers list.
His consistency in international play is world-famous and even German manager Joachim Löw has retained confidence in the 31-year-old forward despite the murmurs about Klose’s lack of form.
So why is the man with the most caps on the team, not the team captain?
Löw made it official today that Klose will not wear the armband, dubbing the 26-year-old Bayern fullback Philipp Lahm the injured Michael Ballack’s successor, rousing doubts about how much the German manager really trusts his shaky striker.
"Of course Klose was also a justifiable candidate for this position,'' Löw said. "He has not had an easy season and not always played, but he remains a very, very important player for us." The German skipper said quite unconvincingly.
Lahm has a sterling international track record, he’s a horse who plays nearly every minute for Germany, and his skills are nothing to scoff at. However, Klose was more deserving of the captaincy for the 2010 World Cup.
The withdrawal of Michael Ballack changed the mindset of the German team from a squad who was eager to unleash a barrage of talented, young players on the world. To a group that was suddenly scrounging for experience and leadership.
At 31 years of age, Klose has the leadership, consistent performances and most importantly, World Cup experience to spearhead the German team. Unfortunately, Löw outsmarted himself here, fearful of the future status of his job if he nominated an elder statesman who appears to be on his way out for the captaincy, knowing that Germany’s expectations for the World Cup have been watered down.
What’s tragic about the situation is that Klose’s lackluster club season has undoubtedly played a large role in all of this. Ballack’s injury was a blow that frightened the German players, coaches and supporters. Every move from then has been calculated and overanalyzed to the point of excess so as to ensure that everyone is happy heading into South Africa.
Klose being snubbed of the captaincy is a painful reality of this new, meticulous approach.
The Bayern striker has tallied a team-leading seven goals in qualifying. Yes, he had a down year with the Bavarians, but the World Cup is just around the corner, and Klose’s body of work on the big stage speaks for itself. However, Löw’s ability to trust his gut on tough decisions went out the window along with Ballack’s chances of playing in South Africa.
Philipp Lahm is a good choice to captain Germany. However, he is not the correct choice.
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