Although the global footballing community seems to have picked their FIFA World Cup winners already following Germany's 7-1 win over Brazil, Joachim Löw's troops are refusing to get caught up in the euphoria.
When Marco Antonio Rodríguez blew the final whistle to end a legendary World Cup semi-final on Tuesday, a tsunami-like wave of euphoria had long been making its way across Germany's footballing community. Fans, journalists and practically every former international player and TV pundit all shared the same opinion: the fourth star above Germany's crest is all but sewn on. There was just a small group of people at Campo Bahia who downright refused to get caught up in the party atmosphere – namely, the Germany national team...
"To put it very literally so that we have the facts on the table: we're into the next round, just like after the Algeria game," said Thomas Müller at the camp in his own unique way. He was backed up by team-mate Per Mertesacker: "Sunday is what counts and it will be all or nothing."
What Mertesacker considers "nothing" would be Germany once again falling at the final hurdle, something Miro Klose & Co. experienced at both the 2002 World Cup (0-2 v Brazil) and UEFA EURO 2008 (0-1 v Spain), not to mention recent World Cup semi-final defeats in 2006 (0-2 v Italy) and 2010 (0-1 v Spain). Yet another slip-up at this late stage is almost inconceivable, but those recent failures are still fresh in the memory of this unfinished golden generation.
Germany coach Joachim Löw will have no problems making sure his team keep their feet on the ground. "I have a feeling that we're all very much grounded and ready for the final step," he calmly predicted.
"Our clear goal when we came here was to become world champions, and no one is a world champion after the semi-finals," added the constantly improving Toni Kroos. The FC Bayern München players in particular know how to turn painful defeats into motivation. The Munich club won the UEFA Champions League in 2001, just two years after their devastating last-minute loss in the final Manchester United FC. And of course the team, led by captain Philipp Lahm, bounced back with their Wembley win against Borussia Dortmund in 2013, having lost out to Chelsea FC in their home final just one year earlier.
This Germany team are now showing that sheer determination for a fourth World Cup title here in Brazil and they're not allowing themselves to be led astray by what happened on Tuesday. Next up are Argentina, who may have a few extraordinarily talented players in their ranks, but are yet to play outstanding football at this tournament.
Right after La Albiceleste's semi-final win on penalties against the Netherlands, the German team's official feed tweeted, "Congratulations Argentina. We'll see you in Rio on Sunday for the final!" It was meant politely, but there was also a hint of a threat in their message.
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