For every member of the Germany squad but 2002 contender Miroslav Klose, Sunday's FIFA World Cup final was a career-first. Other than the striker only Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski took the field six years later in the UEFA EURO 2008 decider with Spain.
However, playing in an international final for Germany was not be a new experience for many of the players. Indeed, nine of the 23 were involved in a golden 12 months following the loss to Spain in Vienna when Germany won the 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Championship and 2009 U17 and U21 titles – the only time one nation has simultaneously held all three trophies.
In all, 15 of the Germany 23 in Brazil played in UEFA age-group final tournaments, with ten reaching a decider and only one tasting defeat – Lahm, in the 2002 U19s against Spain, who started with Andrés Iniesta and got the only goal through Fernando Torres, just as they did at senior level six years later.
UEFA.com looks back at the UEFA tournament experience that formed the team that beat Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. Next week follow the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Hungary as yet another fine generation of German players seek the title.
3 Matthias Ginter – U21 2013 Gp
4 Benedikt Höwedes – U19 2007 SF, U21 2009 W
5 Mats Hummels – U21 2009 W
15 Erik Durm
16 Philipp Lahm – U19 2002 RU
17 Per Mertesacker
20 Jérôme Boateng – U19 2006 SF, U19 2007 SF, U21 2009 W
21 Shkodran Mustafi – U17 2009 W, U21 2013 Gp
2 Kevin Grosskreutz
6 Sami Khedira – U21 2009 W
7 Bastian Schweinsteiger – U21 2004 Gp
8 Mesut Özil – U19 2007 SF, U21 2009 W
13 Thomas Müller
14 Julian Draxler
18 Toni Kroos – U17 2006 SF, U17 2007 Gp
19 Mario Götze – U17 2009 W
23 Christoph Kramer
9 André Schürrle
10 Lukas Podolski – U17 2002 QF, U21 2004 Gp
11 Miroslav Klose
Key: Gp - group stage, QF - quarter-finals. SF - semi-finals, RU - runners-up. W - winners
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