Team Profile: With three World Cup and three European Championship trophies already in the cabinet, Germany are among the world’s most successful footballing nations. Highly organised and disciplined are perhaps clichéd descriptions of Germany’s game, but recent tournament performances under Jürgen Klinsmann and current manager Joachim Löw have produced some breathtaking attacking displays. You’d be crazy not to expect them to do well – as Franz Beckenbauer discovered during the last Euros, when he wrote off Germany’s chances of beating Portugal in the quarter-finals, only to be made to eat his words following their 3-2 victory. But there won’t be any surprises this summer; the Germans’ road to qualification yielded an impressive ten wins from ten matches, with veteran striker Miroslav Klose still proving he’s got what it takes, netting nine times along the way. Plus you can rely on them not to bottle it during a penalty shootout. Mark our words: never write off the Germans.
Coach: Joachim Löw
Joachim ‘Jogi’ Löw’s career as a player lacked sparkle, most of it spent playing for German second-division club Freiburg. The former midfielder’s managerial career at club level saw him in charge of various lowly German and Austrian sides, plus short stints at the helm of Stuttgart and Fenerbahce. It was only when he joined the German national team as Jürgen Klinsmann’s assistant that Löw entered the limelight, receiving praise for the new attacking football he and Klinsmann introduced to the team. Since taking over as manager in July 2006, it’s been almost entirely positive, with only world and European champions Spain preventing Germany from lifting trophies at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
Player to watch: Mesut Özil
The 23-year-old Real Madrid winger was relatively unknown before he turned in impressive performances during the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, for which he was nominated for the Golden Ball Award (awarded to the tournament’s best player). His speed and play-making qualities have earned him the No.10 shirt and helped him gain an impressive number of assists with the Spanish La Liga giants. He was also shortlisted for this year’s Ballon d’Or Award.
FIFA World Ranking: 2
UEFA Euro Ranking: 3
Number of Euro appearances: 11
Previous best: Winners in 1972, 1980 and 1996
Qualification: Winners of Group A – 34 goals scored, 7 goals against, 87 attempts on target, 62 corners
Form (qualifying): WWWWWWWWWW
Fixtures: June 9 vs. Portugal; June 13 vs. Netherlands; June 17 vs. Denmark