Five offbeat rules bring success to Germany

Updated: 2014-07-17 07:40

By Stephan Richte (China Daily)

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It is an age-old question: Does the soccer field offer broader lessons for life, and can big tournaments lead to changing the perception of nations? The just concluded 2014 World Cup in Brazil provides an interesting example.

Germany won the title deservedly. The question is: why?

For sure, it wasn't a matter of the German "machine", as so many commentators argued throughout the tournament. Ultimately, what won Germany the title in Brazil were five unconventional moves. Interestingly, most of them are the precise opposite of what Germany is usually associated with.

Rule No. 1: Toss out the old rulebook.

Ten years ago, after being ignominiously eliminated from the 2004 European Championship in the opening round, Germany's soccer team indeed played "machine-style". There was no denying, though, that it led the team nowhere.

Rather than doing the expected thing - clinging on to what had been quite successful for so long - the German national team's coaching staff decided it was not really a path to the future. It was time for something new.

Out went the muscular, always sideways passing, unimaginative style of play that had served Germany quite well for years. In came reliance on much more agile players who were much more forward oriented.

The move turned Germany into something that it had not been before - exciting. Bursting into sudden attacks by kicking deep forward passes, and thus opening up the game, became the German team's new mantra.

Rule No. 2: Bet on youth.

It is always said that in Germany experience counts over everything else. In soccer, it means relying on older players - and forcing the younger ones to bide their time.

But 10 years ago, the decision was made to bet on youth. And it paid off big time. Several of Germany's key players - such as Thomas Muller, Mario Goetze, Andre Schuerrle, Toni Kroos and Marco Reus - are between 22 and 24 years old, and heence the talk of a "golden generation".

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