Germany is usually one of the hot contenders for the World Cup title and it’s the same story in the tournament in Brazil. Having been drawn into the same group as Ghana, USA and Portugal, they should quite “easy” advance to the playoff games.
The odds of Germany winning World Cup is around 6.50 (11/2).
Germany is one of the most successful teams in world football with three World Cup and three European Championship wins. Their last major victory was in Euro 1996 but they have also been beaten finalists in four World Cups and three European Championships, emphasising what a strong contender they continue to be.
Germany first won the World Cup in 1954 with a team captained by Fritz Walter. Coach Sepp Herberger famously rested his best players for a qualifying game against Hungary which they lost 8-3. Hungary were on an unbeaten run of 32 matches when the two sides met in the final, this time with both sides at full strength. Germany came back from two-nil down to win 3–2 with a late winner from Helmut Rahn.
In the 1966 World Cup, West Germany beat USSR in the semi-final to meet the hosts England in the final at Wembley Stadium. England led 2-1 until Wolfgang Weber equalised in the last minute to force extra-time. A controversial goal by Geoff Hurst put England back in front before he sealed the game with a thunderous left foot drive.
Germany knocked England out of the 1970 World Cup in the quarter-finals, again recovering from two-nil down to win 3–2. They were beaten in the semi-final by Italy despite Franz Beckenbauer staying on the pitch with a dislocated shoulder. The dramatic match went to extra-time with Italy eventually winning 4-3.
Germany won their second World Cup in 1974, beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final in Munich. Johan Cruijff was chopped down in the opening minute with the Dutch taking the lead from the spot kick. Another penalty from Paul Breitner levelled the score and Gerd Müller gave the Germans victory.
Germany lost to Czechoslovakia in the final of Euro 1976 in a penalty shootout. They won the Euro 1980 competition with a 2-1 victory over Belgium. They reached the final of the 1982 World Cup but were beaten 3-1 by Italy. They battled to a semi-final victory over France, winning the penalty shoot-out after the match ended 3-3 after extra-time. Remarkably, no German player would miss a penalty in a major championship shoot-out until Lukas Podolski in 2010.
In the 1986 World Cup, West Germany were runners-up to Argentina and they lost in the semi-final of Euro 1988 to the Netherlands. They would win their third World Cup in 1990 when they appeared in the final for the third successive time. They accounted for England on penalty kicks before gaining revenge on Argentina with a 1-0 win in the final. Andreas Brehme converted a penalty with just five minutes left on the clock. Beckenbauer became only the second person in history to win the trophy as a player and as a coach.
In Euro 1992, Germany were stunned 2-0 in the final by rank outsiders Denmark and they fell to Bulgaria in the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup. They became European champions for the third time in 1996, yet again defeating England on penalties. They went on to beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in the final, courtesy of a golden goal by Oliver Bierhoff.
Germany went through a painful slump and rebuilding process and it was not until the 2002 World Cup that they reached their next major final. They lost 2-0 to Brazil and were knocked out of Euro 2004 in the opening round. Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006 and moved through comfortably to the quarter-finals to play Argentina. They managed to force the match into extra-time and Jens Lehmann became the hero with two saves in the penalty shoot-out to give them victory. The long match took its toll on the players and they lost the semi-final to Italy, conceding twice in extra-time.
Germany reached the final of Euro 2008 but were beaten 1-0 by Spain and they lost to the same team in the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, again by a single goal.
The current German team is packed full of quality and revolves around the play of Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller. They strode confidently through qualifying, winning every match except for a 4-4 draw against Sweden.
They ended their qualifying campaign by beating the same opposition 5-3 with a hat-trick from Chelsea’s Schurrie. They then drew 1-1 with Italy in a friendly before beating England 1-0 at Wembley. A goal from Arsenal’s Mertesacker proved enough to gain a victory despite the absence of many of their star players.
They appear to have strength in depth in every position and play in much the same style as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Their fast counter-attacking style will trouble even the best in the World Cup.
Star Player – Muller
The Germans may not have a predator like Gerd Müller in their ranks, but in Thomas Muller they certainly have a match winner. The Bayern Munich player seems capable of popping up with a vital goal at any time and has been a natural replacement for Michael Ballack.
Muller scored in the first group game in 2010 and then scored twice against England in the last 16. He was on the mark yet again against Argentina in the quarter-final but missed the semi-final through suspension. He won the Golden Boot with another goal in the third place play-off against Uruguay. He was also named the best young player in the tournament.
Although he plays predominantly on the right-hand-side, he is extremely versatile and has the knack of being in the right place at the right time.