‘Germans had plan’

2014-07-10 00:00

FORMER Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp is known for his stern, no-nonsense approach to football mentorship, but after watching Germany brutally dismantle World Cup hosts Brazil on Tuesday night, he couldn’t help but smile — even if it was only on the inside.

“I get incredibly emotional and excited, even though a lot of people don’t see it,” the 55-year-old German tactician told The Witness yesterday. “It was like this in 2006 and then again in 2010. The World Cup is an amazing time.”

Currently head coach at Bloemfontein Celtic, Middendorp has enhanced his reputation as one of the country’s shrewdest football minds through his numerous appearances as one of SuperSport’s World Cup analysts.

On Tuesday night before the match, he boldly predicted a 3-1 win for the Germans, much to the bemusement of his studio colleagues and countless viewers at home.

“To be honest, I was quietly ashamed that I had predicted it to be that close,” added Middendorp.

By half time, the score was 5-0 to the Germans.

“I said before the game that I couldn’t see how the Brazilians would make it.”

The German dominance on display, says Middendorp, is the result of a plan that dates back to the end of the 2006 World Cup.

“This is eight years of hard work,” he explained. “There is a structure and a concept in place and the work is done every day. It has been outstanding application.”

According to Middendorp, the German ­philosophy promotes quick transitions between defence and attack and direct forward passing, something that has been instilled in the players over the last eight years.

“Guys like [Philipp] Lahm, [Manuel] Neuer and [Bastian] Schweinsteiger have the experience and they have been playing under this philosophy in the national set-up for years,” said Middendorp. “There is also this fantastic mixture with the younger players and they have really come in and applied what has been taught to them.”

With an entire nation willing them on, it was Brazil’s destiny to reach this weekend’s final. But less than half-an-hour into the game that dream was up in smoke. There is no quick fix when it comes to winning a World Cup, says the former mentor of Bundesliga outfit Arminia Bielefeld. Instead, the application of the structures and concepts are key.

“Brazil thought that they could bring in [coach Luiz Felipe] Scolari and that everything would be fine, but it doesn’t work that way.”

There is no surprise for who Middendorp is backing to win Sunday’s final.

“They [Germany] do have some things to correct, but if they don’t make any mistakes then I am sure that they will win.”

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