FIFA World Cup 2010: Hats Off To Jogi Loew
Yes England didn't play well. Yes, they had a goal disallowed. No, this does not tell the whole story. England played badly because Germany played well.
Joachim Loew set his team out perfectly to play England. The modern German tactics focused on fluidity proved a far more able system then the rigid English 4-4-2. If we are honest with ourselves, it could have been worse.
Miroslav Klose: Terry and Upson were the target of Miroslav Klose's marauding runs. His goal was a piece of opportunism granted because of Terry's poor judgement of the flight of the ball. How Klose then out-muscled Upson will remain a mystery.
Klose's real achievement was the clever runs he used to tease Terry and Upson out of position. As the only recognised striker on the pitch (Podolski is somewhere between striker and midfielder) when he dropped deep right, the defenders went with him.
When the impressive Thomas Mueller whipped past Terry and Upson, Klose deftly flicked the ball over the onrushing defence and Mueller was left with the simple task of squaring over a lonesome Glen Johnson for a second goal.
Klose proved to be everything England had hoped Rooney would be. A constant threat, using more than physical aspects to make an impression on the game.
Thomas Mueller, Lukas Podolski, and Mesut Oezil : This was something of a master class of attacking football. All three were able to take the role of front man when Klose was elsewhere and their ability is shown with their statistics. Podolski - 1 goal. Oezil - 1 assist. Mueller 2 goals, 1 assist.
The fact that two of these players are 20 and 21 respectively shows just how effective the German youth system is. The three combined with Klose in a way that left the English rear-guard, including Gareth Barry, chasing shadows.
Podolski put in a half-decent defensive shift on Glen Johnson, while also cutting in and shooting dangerously from distance. For his goal he was in the position of a pure striker, and he finished with equal skill.
Oezil was everywhere. Given a free attacking role he appeared on the wings and made a couple of darting runs into the box. He was ever present probing all areas of the defence. For his assist he beat Gareth Barry to a ball from 10 yards behind, raced the length of the pitch, drew in the defenders, and nutmegged Ashley Cole to lay off an easy goal for Mueller.
As for Mueller, a man of the match performance from the Bayern man. Speedy inter-play with Klose and Khedira and two well-taken goals and a savvy assist. He looks set to have a bright future with the national team.
4-2-3-1: The modern German system outplayed the archaic English 4-4-2. Loew saw the English weak points and exploited them with aplomb. England were made to look amatuerish and the scoreline was not unjustified. The English pool has the players to play a similar formation, all that is needed is to have the courage to change formation.
Germany earned this victory. English commentators will point to Lampard's disallowed goal, and maybe that would have changed the game. What I do know is that you cannot allow a bad decision to force heads down, and the English fight began to leak from them as the linesman shook his head. England were toothless in attack and incompetent in defence.
This game was meant to be experience against youth. Somehow Germany seemed to have both.
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