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Germany want to dazzle all the way to title

Last updated on: June 6, 2012 06:28 IST

Germany want to dazzle all the way to title

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Germany go into Euro 2012 among the favourites, but this time it has less to do with past successes and more to do with their modern game that has won over legions of new fans.

The three-time European champions have been without a major trophy for 16 years, despite being tagged favourites at most tournaments since 1996.

This time round, however, their Euro group rivals, - Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark - will come up against one of the youngest, fastest and most furious German teams in at least a generation.

Players like Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer quickly made a name for themselves at the 2010 World Cup with a dazzling display of fast-paced football and lethal finishing that saw them crush England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0 en route to a third-place finish.


Image: Germany's national soccer coach Joachim Loew gestures during an official training session ahead of the Euro 2012
Photographs: Reuters

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One of the favourites

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The vast majority of coach Joachim Loew's players were just youngsters when Oliver Bierhoff, now the team's manager, scored a golden goal to hand Germany the Euro trophy in 1996.

Many of them were mere toddlers when Franz Beckenbauer coached the national side to their last of their three World Cup wins in 1990.

"It is clear that Germany go into such tournaments always as favourites," Loew said. "But it is also clear that there is not just one favourite, not just Germany. I have often said there is Spain, Italy, France, they are all among those capable of winning it."


Image: German national soccer Marco Reus (L), Mesut Oezil and Julian Draxler (R) perform during a training session in Tourrettes
Photographs: Reuters

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Big wins

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On a good day Germany have shown they can beat any defence, having won all 10 of their Euro qualifiers and scored victories in friendlies over big names like Brazil, Netherlands and Uruguay in the past months.

"We have learned to take possession of the ball as quickly as possible. Our game has become more modern," said captain Philipp Lahm, at 28 one of the oldest in a team that also includes teenager Mario Goetze. "Of course, Spain remain the favourites."

Defensively, Germany have more options than ever with Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels adding steel in the centre of defence where Arsenal's Per Mertesacker looks to be in danger of losing his starting spot after damaging his ankle and foot playing for Arsenal in February. Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer is also set to make the squad.


Image: German national soccer player Philipp Lahm jumps for a ball during a training session in Tourrettes
Photographs: Reuters

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Luxury of choice in midfield

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Loew has an impressive luxury of choice in midfield where Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger have forged an efficient holding partnership.

Goetze, 19, and Real Madrid playmaker Ozil have combined well with Toni Kroos, bringing skills that mesh perfectly with the pace of Lukas Podolski, Thomas Mueller, Marco Reus and Andre Schuerrle on the wings.

Lars and Sven Bender have also worked themselves into contention with the twins available for all-round midfield assignments.


Image: German national soccer player Bastian Schweinsteiger juggles a ball during a training session in Tourrettes
Photographs: Reuters

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