Football: Win fuels fire of German ambition

By Jason Burt

Cup victory could herald beginning of era of dominance, says Schweinsteiger

Argentina's Lionel Messi tries to slip past Germany's Mats Hummels. Photo / AP
Argentina's Lionel Messi tries to slip past Germany's Mats Hummels. Photo / AP

Winning the World Cup in Brazil has given Germany the "hunger" to triumph in more tournaments and create an era of dominance similar to Spain.

Bastian Schweinsteiger said that the "experience" of winning in Brazil - and succeeding in their first tournament since Euro 1996 - would only benefit a German squad that is young enough to remain together for years.

"It will give us hunger, absolutely," Schweinsteiger said. "We want to do it again at the next tournament. The important thing is that the young guys have the experience of this tournament."

Germany are now targeting Euro 2016 in France and, after that, retaining the World Cup in Russia in 2018 after becoming the first European nation to triumph in South America.

"I think we have some players who have a big future," Schweinsteiger said.

"We believe we are now the No 1 team in the world. We will go to France and try and do it again.

"We have the experience now from what we have done here and that will help us. I think what happened before in South Africa at the last World Cup helped, too."

The midfielder, 29, is one of the older members of Joachim Loew's squad and also experienced the disappointments of reaching the World Cup semifinals in 2006 and 2010 without going further and losing in the semifinals of Euro 2012 and the final of Euro 2008.

"Since the tournament was held in Germany in 2006, we always go as far as the semifinal, finish third-place or reach the final in 2008 but lose," Schweinsteiger said.

"But now we have taken one step more and that is the most important thing for the whole of this squad."

The victory was a reward for the re-building that the German Football Association instituted after the failure of Euro 2000.

"We have quality players, but the most important thing is that we have the tradition in our game," Schweinsteiger said.

"We have the mentality of the Germans. We can run, we can make pressure, we can defend - and the mix between this is the solution.

"It's not so easy because we have a young team. But we have some players like Philipp Lahm, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker who have the experience.

"This mix makes a big difference.

"You never know what happens in the future. But we are fit, we are hungry and we have some good players who are 25 years of age and around that age."

One of those is defender Mats Hummels, 25, who was part of the German under-21 side that defeated England 4-0 in the final of the 2009 European Championship.

"We knew that this was a special team in 2009," Hummels said of the squad that also included Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng and Benedikt Hoewedes who were all first-choice in Brazil.

"There are something like 10 players in the World Cup who played in that tournament."

The centre-half praised finalists Argentina as having a "strong defence and technically very good" but was also dismissive.

"We saw videos of them, which showed us that they have eight players in defence, plus the goalkeeper, plus Messi and Higuain." Hummels insisted that he was staying at Borussia Dortmund despite interest from Manchester United.

"There's nothing to argue about me staying or not. There's nothing to discuss."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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