RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Germany’s World Cup victory on Sunday was not just down to 50 days of good preparation for the tournament but was the culmination of a meticulously-planned long-term project, coach Joachim Loew said.
Loew, who took over from Juergen Klinsmann in 2006 after their third-place finish at the World Cup in Germany, said were it not for the team’s first-round exits in earlier tournaments their fourth World Cup win may have been delayed.
“I think that we were 50 days together but this is a project we started 10 years ago,” the 54-year-old said after his team Argentina 1-0 in the final.
“We started it with Juergen Klinsmann (after 2004) and then we continued it. Our biggest strength is that we improved throughout the years even if we missed taking that last step at tournaments.”
Germany made at least the semi-finals in the last two World Cups and European Championships after failing to get past the group stage at Euro 2000 and 2004.
“We knew we would take that last step and we believed in it and today it finally worked,” he said.
Those setbacks led to the creation of a national plan to invest in youth centers for the sport with many players in Loew’s current team, including 22-year-old Mario Goetze who scored the extra-time winner against Argentina.
“We were disappointed at times in the past but today there was only deserved winner. This team. It is a special moment because it was not just these days here but the entire 10 years,” he said.
Loew said during that time German players had to learn not to rely only on what he said were the traditional German virtues of working hard and battling until the very end.
Young players had to learn more skills to be able to compete with foreign clubs and national teams.
“The Bundesliga has a big part in this with its training centers,” he said.
“In 2000 and 2004, German football was at the very bottom. But we took action to invest in training, to become technically better.
“The German virtues were not enough any more and we had to improve our skills.”
The first signs were visible at the 2010 World Cup when Loew fielded their youngest team in 76 years and their attractive attacking style won over many fans.
“The clubs also have their share in this because they got younger and younger players into the first teams. They are doing great work and I have to thank them for that,” he said.
Editing by Ed Osmond