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World Cup A to Z

G IS FOR GERMANY

G IS FOR GERMANY

PLENTY of beady eyes will be secretly trained on Joachim Loew's side this summer, not just those of Gordon Strachan, whose Scotland side are fated to be the Germans' next competitive engagement, in Dortmund's Westfalenstadion in September.

Few teams were as impressive as the Germans in qualifying, their 36 goals whilst going unbeaten being the most of any team.

And there is a general feeling they are as good a bet as any to break continental Europe's duck in World Cups held in South America.

Germany are rarely far away when major trophies are handed out and a triumph this summer would be a perfect way to celebrate one of the healthiest football cultures on the planet - with its sell-out attendances, affordable ticket prices, and enviable youth development system.

On the face of it, this could be their time: the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Mesut Ozil and Manuel Neuer are at the peak of the powers, the generation of Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Julian Draxler coming hot on their heels.

Question marks, remain, however, about central defence and centre forward, while it is unclear whether the pace and energy of their pressing game will translate to the sweltering humidity of Brazil.

There are no givens in a tough group which also includes Portugal, USA and Ghana.

Whatever happens this summer, the Germans are determined to have a good time while doing it.

Unions recently launched a campaign to ensure that workers are allowed late starts the morning after Germany's World Cup matches.

Perhaps the wisest move is to crack open the bratwurst and the pilsner and join them.

Stewart Fisher

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Football

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