Tuesday July 15 2014

Glorious golden Germany - the greatest the game has seen for a while

By Nicholas Sengoba

“Das Lied der Deutschen” or the song of the Germans is the title of the National Anthem of the 2014 Fifa World Cup holders. From 1922, it was sung beginning with the first stanza, which has the refrain “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” (Germany, Germany above all.)
After the Second World War in 1945, only the third stanza, which talks of the ideals of ‘Unity, Justice and Freedom’/Are the pledge of happiness…/ was retained and is what the Germans sing today. This meant that even the second stanza, which declares that ‘German Women, German loyalty/ German Wine and German Song, /Shall retain in the world, /Their beautiful chime /And inspire us to noble deeds/ During all of our life… was also dropped.
But the diehards still sing the anthem starting with the first stanza. Two days ago as the German national team known as Die Mannshaft beat a solid Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina, at the Maracana Stadium, in Rio De Janeiro, everything in whichever part of the anthem was passionately on display. Germany ended above all. This great team of World Cup records has done noble things in this life time. They have played in the most finals 1954, 1966, 1974, 1982, 1986, 1990, 2002, 2014). Germany, features Miroslav Klose the player with the highest number of goals (16).
They are the first European team to win the World Cup on South American soil. The first opponent to oblige the great Brazilian team to collect the ball seven times from their own net, in the space of 90 minutes. And for now and for a long, long time to come, the pleasure of watching the Germans displaying everything German on a football pitch will leave with our memories.
Manuel Neuer; the golden glove winner for being the best goal keeper at World Cup through to the rock-hard Jerome Boateng, Matt Hummels, Benedikt Howedes gave this team triple guarantees that you only derive from reputable gold standard insurance policies. We leave out inspirational team captain Philip Lahm, for at the time of writing, the frantic search words to describe him, was still on! In the Bavarian enthused midfield of the tenacious Bastian Schweinsteiger, the effervescent Toni Kroos, the indefatigable Thomas Muller together with Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil, we found the reminiscence of the creativity, class and timelessness of the great German composers of classic music - Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.
What can one say about the purposeful youth and running of André Schürrle? Then super Mario Goetze’s ‘100 per cent record’ of two vital goals in two games; with the latest that was delivered with neurosurgical precision?
Swabian auto maker Mercedes Benz, sponsors of this team will forever associate themselves with the delivery; silence the ball on the chest, turn and of half volley without error like you are programmed. Argentina defender Martin Demichellis and goal keeper Sergio Romero will do the same as the people who were closest to the action but could do nothing about it. We shall leave Klose’s many records to speak for him. They now include the highest number of games played at the finals.
For their triumphant effort, Lahm and Co., join Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Uli Hoeness, Sepp Meir, Wolfgang Overath, Gunter Netzer, Lothar Mattaus, Andreas Brehme to mention but a few of the plethora of great men Germany has bestowed on the great game of football.
But the Germans, cheered on enthusiastically by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and led by Joachim Loew, the man with a 1960s Beatles hair style, did not forget about efficiency. Efficiency is the hallmark of the great German teams of old that brought the other three World Cup trophies in 1954, 1974 and 1990. This time round, there was the bonus of class and flair which had promise and delivered on that promise. Going by what we saw in Brazil, it is a promise that Germany is bound to keep, without breaking for many years to come.

Mr Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues. nicholassengoba@yahoo.com