Alejandro Sabella consoles Lionel Messi after the defeat,
at the Maracana, on Sunday
Rio de Janeiro: Joachim Loew has revealed the extraordinary team-talk he delivered before extra time of Sunday’s World Cup final when he specifically addressed Mario Goetze and told him: “Show the world that you are better than Lionel Messi.”
Goetze duly obliged, combining with Andre Schuerrle to score a brilliant winner that sealed Germany’s fourth World Cup triumph and made them the first European team to win football’s greatest prize in South America.
Loew said the World Cup triumph was forged on team spirit. ‘This side has developed an unbelievable team spirit and developed a marvellous mental capacity,” he said.
“And we are proud to become the first European country to win the title in South America… In Brazil, in Rio… this football-loving country and that makes us very proud.
“This joy and happiness will last forever. The team gave all it had, led by the marvellous Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield and Philipp Lahm, who ran many a kilometre.
“I told the team before kick-off that they would have to give more than they had ever given before, because they wanted to achieve something we had never previously achieved,” Loew added.
Loew’s squad has reached the semi-finals or bettered them in five consecutive tournaments, but this triumph represented final confirmation of their status as Germany’s ‘golden generation’.
“This goes back to the work we have been doing, making small improvements all the time, for the last 10 years.
“We started it with Juergen Klinsmann (after 2004) and then we continued with it. Our biggest strength is that we have improved throughout the years even if we missed taking that last step at tournaments.
“We knew we would take that last step and we believed in it… It finally worked,” he said.
Those setbacks led to the creation of a national plan to invest in youth centres for the sport with many players in Loew’s present team, including 22-year-old Goetze.
“We were disappointed at times in the past, but on Sunday, there was only one 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 period of time, German players had to learn not only to rely on what he said and the traditional German virtues of working hard and battling until the very end, but also about the skills required. 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 centres,” 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 on 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.
Midfield general Schweinsteiger said messages of support from fans back home had helped the team on their run to the title.
“We’ll enjoy the moment, it’s unbelievable,” said Schweinsteiger, who claimed his first international title after a decade with the German team.
“Thank you for your support. We could feel how much you have got behind us here. It was an unbelievable performance, but how the boys on the bench have got into it is something I have never experienced before.“That gave us so much power… Because of it, we have won the World Cup.”
Captain Philipp Lahm hailed Germany’s triumph of collective brilliance over the individual talents of Messi. “It’s unbelievable what we have achieved,” Lahm said. “Whether we have the best individual player doesn’t matter at all, you just need to have the best team.”
Chelsea’s Schuerrle was in tears on the final whistle. “This is the best moment of my life,” he said.
“I had to cry because I was so overcome. I couldn’t stop it. It was always a dream to become a world champion. We are so looking forward to celebrating with our fans in Berlin.”