2014 World Cup Team Preview: Germany

4 Comments

Getting to know… Germany: Three times the champions of World Cup, three times the champions of the European Championships and simply a deadly side, Germany is one of the favorites to win World Cup 2014. The biggest question is how their game will translate to the humid climate of Brazil, as their three WC wins were all during Europe-based tournaments.

Record in qualifying: Streamrolled through UEFA’s Group C with a 9W-1D record, the draw a 4-4 thriller against Sweden in Oct. 2012. Scored 36 goals in those 10 games, allowing just 10 (which includes the 4 against Sweden). Boom.

What group are they in? Group G with Ghana, Portugal and the United States

Game schedule: Group G

16 June, 13:00, Salvador – Germany vs. Portugal
21 June, 16:00, Fortaleza – Germany vs. Ghana
26 June, 13:00, Recife – United States vs. Germany

Star player: Manuel Neuer

Must I select only one? Fine, let’s take the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best in the world by many: Manuel Neuer. The Bayern Munich backstop is the latest in a long line of stellar German keepers and, at 28, isn’t going anywhere any time soon. He’s lead Germany to a Euro U-21 title, so perhaps the World Cup is coming this time around.

Manager: Joachim Löw

He looks like a German Beatle and coaches like the equivalent of the Fab Four. Sure, Joachim Low has a wealth of talent from which to form a team, but the former Fenerbahce and Austria Wien boss has done good things since taking over Germany in 2006 (after two years as an assistant). An assistant in 2006, Low was considered just as responsible as Jurgen Klinsmann for Germany’s semifinal run in the ’06 World Cup run, and has followed it up with a loss in the finals of Euro 2008, the third place prize for World Cup 2010 and a semi-final loss to Italy at Euro 2012. All that’s left is the major title.

Secret weapon: Depth

It’s really unfair to claim that there’s a secret weapon for Germany considering that every time they sub, the opposition fans will groan as they realize another known commodity is coming onto the pitch. There are only four players on the roster with less than 10 caps, and not one should see significant time. The one with 11 caps is Julian %^&%^&* Draxler. Their “midfielders” include Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Schurrle, Podolski, Muller, Draxler, Kroos, Gotze, Reus. That’s nine guys.

EDIT: Reus is injured and out of the tournament.

Prediction: Germany wins the group, and has only itself to blame for a run anywhere short of the semifinal. US fans should hope that the Germans beat up Portugal in the opener and get three points from Ghana in the second, allowing them to consider resting some main faces for the knockout round. The Germans do have an American fitness coach: Shad Forsythe.

Klopp talks politics: “Brexit makes no sense”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of Brexit and he doesn’t care who knows it.

Liverpool’s German manager has spoken in the past about his disdain towards the vote by British citizens to leave the European Union, with Brexit officially planned for March 2019.

Klopp sat down with the Guardian to chat about a whole host of topics but it was his political views which will get the headlines ahead of Liverpool’s huge UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against AS Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.

The man who has Liverpool on the cusp of reaching a major European final and comfortably in the top four of the Premier League also admitted that he has a “helping syndrome” and wants to help out everyone and he cares about them greatly.

It is worth letting the words speak for themselves when it comes to Klopp’s comments on Brexit as it is clearly something else he cares a lot about.

Take it away, Jurgen…

“When Mr [David] Cameron had the idea [of a referendum] you thought: ‘This is not something people should decide in a moment.’ We are all influenced by the way only some of the argument is given, and once the decision is taken nobody gives you a real opportunity to change it again. The choice was either you stay in Europe, which is not perfect, or you go out into something nobody has any idea how it will work.

“So you give people the chance to make this big decision. And then it’s a 51-49 [51.9%-48.1%] vote and you’re thinking: ‘Wow, 49% are not happy with the decision that’s going to change the country.’ For the 51%, I’m sure they realized pretty early after the vote: ‘What have we done?’ The two leaders of the leave campaign then stepped aside. It was a pure sign they were surprised themselves by the vote. OK, that can happen. But then, come on, let’s sit together again. Let’s think about it again and let’s vote again with the right information – not with the information you’ve got around the Brexit campaign. They were obviously not right, not all of them. It makes no sense at all.”

“The EU is not perfect but it was the best idea we had. History has always shown that when we stay together we can sort out problems. When we split then we start fighting. There was not one time in history where division creates success. So, for me, Brexit still makes no sense.”

VIDEO: Napoli fans celebrate Juventus win

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It is safe to say Napoli’s fans were pretty happy with the 1-0 win their team secured at Juventus on Sunday.

Kalidou Koulibaly powered home a header in stoppage as Napoli moved just one point behind Juventus, who sit top of the Serie A table, with four games to go. The title race is well and truly on in Italy.

The scenes across Naples after the game were incredible and when the players arrived back at the airport at around 3 a.m. local time they were greeted by thousands of adoring fans.

Take a look at the video below. Wow.


Preview: Everton v. Newcastle

Leave a comment
  • Everton have won seven of their last eight games v Newcastle
  • Newcastle have won four PL games in a row
  • Wayne Rooney has more goals (15) against Newcastle than any other PL team

Everton host Newcastle United on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Toffees and Magpies both setting pretty in midtable.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game

The Toffees sit in ninth, with Newcastle in 10th and just one point behind Everton with a game in hand. Rafael Benitez has been lauded for taking his newly-promoted side into the top 10 with defensive solidity, while Sam Allardyce has been lambasted for a defensive style of play despite getting Everton out of a relegation fight following his appointment back in November.

In team news Everton have Mason Holgate and Gylfi Sigurdsson out injured, while Newcastle will be without Christian Atsu but Islam Slimani could make his first start.


What they’re saying 

Sam Allardyce on the job Rafael Benitez has done at Newcastle: “From a difficult period they have managed to recover and get in the Premier League and they have turned it around. They have put together a run of games and we’ll see a better Newcastle than we saw up there [when Everton won 1-0 in December]. Rafa has progressed very well. He has always expressed his disappointment with not enough funds – we can all say we don’t have enough funds. What he has managed with the funds he has, particularly in the January months, has been excellent.”

Rafael Benitez on his Newcastle future: “I want to win games and I want to win trophies and I want to have the tools to be capable of competing. At the same time. I like to improve players, coach players, follow a business plan, a realistic business plan in modern football. I have no problem with that because I did it in the past.”

Prediction
Two teams who are very similar in terms of their style of play should see a bit of a stalemate take place at Goodison. 1-1 draw, which is a much better result for Newcastle and will pile more pressure on Big Sam.

Paul Pogba: “Transfers are not in my head”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Paul Pogba has been discussing his future at Manchester United beyond this season.

The Frenchman delivered a stunning assist in United’s 2-1 win against Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, with the midfielder now named Man of the Match in each of his last two games after plenty of speculation about his future at United in recent months.

Jose Mourinho left Pogba out of his starting lineup on multiple occasions, while Pep Guardiola claims he was offered to buy Pogba in January and speculation about him joining Paris Saint-Germain, going back to Juventus or heading to Real Madrid continue.

Speaking to French outlet Canal Football Club, Pogba had the following to say about his own future.

“Right now, I am at Manchester United and I am honestly only thinking about the present. Transfers are not in my head. We are in the [FA] Cup final and the World Cup is around the corner,” Pogba said.

Pogba also addressed the rumors regarding his relationship with Mourinho with reports stating that the duo do not get along and United’s manager is fed up with the Frenchman’s attitude off the pitch.

“I don’t have a problem with him, and I don’t think he has a problem with me,” Pogba said. “He’s the coach and he has to make choices. I am a player and I accept them. I have to answer on the pitch.”