Nancy Armour: ‘Germany Head And Shoulders Above Everybody Else’
Germany beat Argentina, 1-0, on Sunday to win its first World Cup title since 1990 – not to mention its fourth World Cup title overall, which ties Italy for second-most all time.
Perhaps we should get used to it. Yes, a lot can happen in four years, but Germany will almost assuredly be the favorite heading into Russia in 2018.
“I think these guys are (going to be the dominant) team (for the next several years), especially if you look at everybody else who is here,” USA Today columnist Nancy Armour said on The John Feinstein Show. “There’s nobody who has the depth. There’s nobody that has the technical skill that they have. They can play so many different styles, and they can adapt to pretty much anything anyone throws at them. They’re really sound. If you look at what they did here and what all their guys have done at the club level, I think you’re going to be seeing them winning championships for both club and country for the next few years. I think there’ll be teams that might challenge them, but it’s going to be kind of like Spain (after 2010). They’re going to be head and shoulders above everybody else.”
Indeed, Miroslav Klose, 36, is the only German regular nearing retirement. Mario Gotze, who scored the Cup-winning goal on Sunday, is just 22, while Thomas Muller, who appears poised to rewrite the World Cup record books, is just 24.
Germany won six of its seven matches at the World Cup, beating Portugal, the U.S., Algeria, France, Brazil and Argentina by a combined 16-2. The only non-win was a 2-2 draw against Ghana in group play.
Whatever. John Feinstein is just glad that Sunday’s final didn’t come down to penalty kicks. So is Armour.
“I’m not a huge fan of penalty kicks,” she said. “They’re dramatic, and I know you got to settle it some way, but it really would’ve been a bummer – because this has been a great tournament. There have been dramatic games, exciting games. It’s not exactly a coin flip, but it’s about as close as you can get to it. To have it end that way, it’s kind of like puncturing a ballon and watching the air go out of it.”
Lionel Messi, meanwhile, is left to ponder what might have been. The 27-year-old striker is widely considered the best player in the world, but a win on Sunday could have cemented his status as the greatest player of all time. Messi had a quality chance or two against Germany, but he couldn’t find the back of the net.
Argentina lost, and doubters remain.
“A lot of people make the argument that you can’t be considered the world’s best player unless you have a World Cup title,” Armour said. “I’ve never been quite sure if I buy that argument or not. The problem, I think, is that he had a chance to win the World Cup. Not only did Argentina not win; he was not good last night. He did not play well at all. Nor did he in the semifinals. It’s not just the fact that he hasn’t won the World Cup. He kind of hasn’t shown up when they had a chance to win it, either.”