An Old International

An Old International

  • An Old International - Miscellaneous - History Blog


    All things football with a historical or cultural perspective.


    Date Added: 11/06/14

    Last Checked: 08/12/15

    Date Updated At Last Check: 03/12/15

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  • EURO 2000: The German Phoenix

    Posted on 23 November, 2015

    Germany, winner or the 1996 European Championships qualified for the 2000 edition but failed to win a single game in the tournament and finished behind England, the first time since 1968! This post highlights how this desaster helped to re-boot German football.

    The Road to Holland

    Qualifying for Euro 2000 in Belgium and Holland with minimal fuss was the sort of ruthless efficiency that has become synonymous with the German national team over the years, such is the calibre of players that the country produced on a regular basis. Although there were certain fears that a golden generation was coming to an end with players such as Lotthar Matthaus, Ulf Kirsten and captain Oliver Bierhoff able to enjoy one last shot at international glory, it was counter-balanced by a staunch belief across fans, pundits and bookmakers alike that Germany always manage to produce their best football when it mattered most. A twenty-two man squad with an average age of 28.5 was a reflection of the belief that Erich Ribbeck had in experience over youth, but although Germany had two hugely promising talents in the shape of Michael Ballack and Sebastian Deisler at Euro 2000, it also provided a glowing indication of a underlying problem that became all too apparent after the tournament.

    To say that Euro 2000 was a disaster for everyone associated with Germany, from Ribbeck and his players to the fans and bookmakers across the country, would be putting it mildly. An ageing side that may have had enough nous and experience to succeed ultimately failed to produce the results that many expected, as a team widely backed to reach the latter stages at the very least finished bottom of their group and failed to win a single game in the process. Numerous Dutch newspapers were quick to point out that Germany were a “dying football nation”, and although it may have been tongue-in-cheek ripostes at seeing their arch enemies endure a fall from grace following their triumph at the previous European Championship, the fact that the country’s Under-21 and Under-19 sides were also struggling due to a lack of talent and number of players that were experiencing competitive football was an indication that change was required.

    The fact that numerous other countries are now turning to Germany for inspiration on how to improve their own football structure is a true indication of just how successful the transformation has been. It is this level of reinvention that transformed the nation into World Cup champions in 2014, with six of the players who were part of a hugely successful Under 21 side who won the European Championship in 2009 picking up winners medals in the Maracana. Joachim Low can only feel blessed to have players such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Marco Reus at his disposal, and it would be no surprise to see Football Scores – a great source of football news, tips and odds – tip Germany to win Euro 2016 in France after their quality finally shone through during what was a challenging qualifying group. Losing to Ireland may have surprised those who were watching on the live score system, but Germany were already in a strong position in Group D prior to their curtain-closing 2-1 victory in Leipzig against Georgia which secured top spot.

    Shock to the System

    The manner of Germany’s exit at Euro 2000 was a real shock to the system, but one that ultimately changed the dynamics of football in Germany for the greater good. There can be no doubt that the fallout from Euro 2000 was the turning point that German football so desperately needed; it sparked a nationwide inquest conducted by the DFB which looked into where it went wrong in Belgium and Holland, along with what role they could play in creating a much brighter future for German football on and off the pitch. It led to an entire transformation in philosophy and upgrading facilities across Germany, along with employing more full-time coaches who were on board with the DFB’s ambition to produce more technically-gifted players and move away from the days of physical strength being the prime characteristic.

    A fundamental change in emphasis and direction continue to reap dividends fifteen years on, with the considerable strength of German football noticeable through the major rise in performances at domestic international level. Football Scores will be keeping a close eye on Bayern Munich, who are now widely considered amongst the strong favourites to win the Champions League on an annual basis, while Germany are almost instinctively installed alongside as Europe’s best hopes of keeping the World Cup away from the grasps of Argentina and Brazil. The Bundesliga is now also valued as the place to watch home-grown talents prosper under the opportunity of playing first team football; 15% of registered players under the age of 23 were regulars for their team in 2010 – a noticeable increase from the 6% that were plying their trade in the German top flight in 2000.

    It is a figure that continue to rise under strong backing from the DFB and clubs themselves, with the latter investing an estimated £85 million into their academies on an annual basis. The DFB also enforce a strict inspection of every football academy across the county every three years to ensure that young footballers are not only receiving the best education and care, but also have the sufficient quality of facilities to nurture their natural talents. This emphasis on producing home-grown talent has led to a resurgence of several clubs across Germany, most notably at Eintracht Frankfurt, Freiburg and Schalke who provide perfect examples of what has changed in Germany and what makes them the leading football nation.
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