BEIJING China (Xinhua) --
German fans are always the happiest as their national team has
reached at least the semifinals of every major tournament since
Joachim Loew took over in 2006.
This can surely
boost the confidence of the Germans who are aiming to be the
first World Cup winners in 56 years to defend the title.
“We can accomplish
something historic - World Cup champions, Confederations Cup
winners and then World Cup champions again, which has never
happened,” Loew said recently at the team’s training camp in
Italy, according to DPA.
The message is clear
that the world’s No. 1 team is ready for the tournament which
kicks off in ten days.
“The goal for us all must be to win the
title,” said Loew.
Brazil, which lifted
the Jules Rimet trophy in 1958 and 1962, were the last team to
defend their title.
But in half a century, with the progress and
popularity of the sport expanding around the globe, the gaps
between the giant teams are narrowing, which makes the feat more
and more difficult to achieve.
Loew has clear plans
in Russia for title defense.
“We as a team need another
improvement if we want to be successful. We have to play even
better than we did at the 2014 World Cup,” the 58-year-old head
Loew stressed the
importance of two other important factors - the necessary
changes in the team and the hunger to repeat their Brazil 2014
After the 2006 World
Cup, Loew guided his side to a steady and glorious decade with
at least the last-four finish in each major tournament.
success is based on the young generations’ growth and the
constant upgrading of the tactical strategy.
finished as runners-up at Euro 2008, Loew humbly learned the
lessons from the final defeat to Spain and researched into the
“possession football” style of their opponents.
From that time
on, Germany developed the speed, power and physical advantage,
but also improved to a new level with more skillful ball-passing
and a highly defensive line to maintain the momentum in their
At Euro 2016, Loew
again made the tactical change and tried the new strategy after
Italy knocked Spain out of the group stage.
He made sure Germany
could complete transition between 3-4-3 and 5-3-2 in defense and
attack, which helped Germany finally beat Italy for the first
time in a major tournament.
Therefore in Russia,
Germany can have many strategy adjustments while facing
With the improvement of the individual
skills, the defending champions pay more attention to the
efficiency of their attack based on their style.
the collective efforts ahead of individuals.
There is no
superstar in the team but the average power is daunting, which
is capable of delivering results.
Based on the
successful youth training system in the country, Germany have
more young talents to rely on for the necessary tactical change
Let’s not forget that at the 2017 Confederations
Cup, Loew made his brave decision to take an inexperienced squad
to Russia and rest his star players, but still won the dress
rehearsal for the World Cup by beating Chile 1-0 at the final in
The successful result helped him decide to take
more than ten players, who lifted the Confederations Cup, to
this summer’s World Cup.
Among the young
talents, the fullback Joshua Kimmich, dubbed the “new Philipp
Lahm”, is the only player who has played every minute of
Germany’s ten World Cup qualifiers. RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner has
also been beckoned to be a leading player of his generation.
The backbone of the
world champions is still there as Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels,
Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos will use
their experience and chemistry to carry on the team in Russia.
World Cup Group F Preview:
Mexico hope to break “fourth-match jinx”
By Sportswriter Pan Yi BEIJING China (Xinhua)
-- Mexico, together with Brazil and
Germany, are the only teams surviving the group stage in all of
the last six FIFA World Cup, but the CONCACAF giants haven’t
managed to make it past the round of 16. It’s as if Mexico’s
fourth match at the World Cup is jinxed.
powerhouses, Mexico played France in the opener of the first
World Cup in Uruguay in 1930. Russia 2018 will be Mexico’s 16th
World Cup, and their seventh consecutive appearance.
Their best performances came in 1970 and 1986, when they
advanced to the quarterfinals as hosts.
This summer in Russia, Mexico will undoubtedly go all out to
snap their frustrating record.
In the 2014 World
Cup, Mexico finished second in a tough group featuring hosts
Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, only conceding the top spot to
Brazil on goal difference.
Their play concluded with a 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands in the
last 16 round.
Mexico booked a spot in Russia 2018 with a 1-0 win over Panama,
securing qualification with three matches remaining.
They lost just once in their 16 qualifiers.
power came mainly from their all-time top scorer Javier
Extremely quick and agile, Hernandez, who has played for
Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, scored many
goals from close range.
His dribbling skill, pace, and ability to find space inside the
box are all world class.
His minutes-per-goal ratio during his time with Manchester
United is still among the most prolific in the history of the
English Premier League.
German legend Rudi
Voller praised Hernandez’s positioning in front of the goal,
saying, “he certainly doesn’t win every tackle but he has an
incredible sense of where the ball will end up.”
Now playing for West Ham United, the 30-year-old is still sharp
“We want to be world
champions and we don’t want to put any limits on ourselves. Some
people complain that we’re not being realistic, but the reality
is that if you don’t dream and strive for more, then you’re the
one who has it all wrong,” Hernandez said on his expectation
from the World Cup.
likely line up with Hirving Lozano, a 23-year-old rising star
who plays for PSV Eindhoven.
Lozano may well be the one to watch in Russia 2018. He enjoyed a
scintillating 2017, winning the CONCACAF Champions League with
Pachuca, collecting the Golden Boot and also the Best Young
This earned him a move to PSV where he’s hit the ground running.
He also scored the only goal in the victory against Panama that
secured Mexico’s place in Russia.
As a right-footed
left winger, Lozano has an eye for goals and fierce shots.
If he continues to impress and can show what he’s worth at the
World Cup, PSV might find trouble to hold him on.
and Lozano, Mexico also have Miguel Layun (Sevilla), Raul
Jimenez (Benfica) and Diego Reyes (Porto).
For the first time in their history, Mexico will head to a World
Cup with half of their squad playing in Europe.
Coach Juan Carlos
Osorio, a Colombian, is a tactician who is good at making
He is also an experienced manager capable of improving the
atmosphere in the locker room.
Since he took the reins in 2015, Mexico have risen from 18th
to 15th in the FIFA rankings.
Mexico have been
drawn in Group F with defending champions Germany, Sweden and
South Korea. It is not an easy group.
Even if Mexico advance as second placed finishers, they will
most likely meet Brazil in the next round.
“We have a solid
group of players with experience in Europe’s biggest leagues. If
Raul, Javier and Hirving are on top of their game, then we can
score against anyone,” Osorio said.