Beaten, but unbowed after Die Mannschaft lost 0-1 to the Spaniards on Wednesday night, the German media were already looking forward four years to the next tournament in Brazil with characteristic Teutonic confidence.
“The World Cup dream is destroyed! Spain was simply a bridge too far for our young team. This 1-0 defeat in the semi-final was deserved,” said the sensationalist daily Bild. “But keep your heads high, boys! Because we’ll be bringing the trophy back in four years from the next World Cup in Brazil.”
Die Welt was also brimming with confidence for the coming tournament, writing on its front page: “1954, 1974, 1990 … 2014,” the years Germany has held aloft the Jules Rimet trophy and the year they hope they will do so again. “This team can do a great deal in the next few years,” the paper wrote in an editorial.
Berlin tabloid BZ said: “Spain too strong, Jogi’s boys too young,” referring to Germany coach Jogi Löw. “This young German team is one for the future.”
Nevertheless, there was some disappointment at the strangely muted way the team played after putting four goals past Australia, England and Argentina.
“The German players respected the Spaniards too much,” lamented Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It’s not very easy to break up the fast Spanish game with toughness and even fouls, but it’s also not impossible.”
The daily said the Germans clearly suffered from having rising star Thomas Müller banned from the semi-final after seeing two yellow cards. “His replacement Piotr Trochowski didn’t play poorly, but he didn’t have the unpredictability and edginess that Thomas Müller recently added to the German game. And that’s the same element that charmed pundits around the entire world.”
“The Spanish, favourites before this World Cup, deserved their win … this time we lacked courage and cleverness. There was none of the ‘made in Germany’ football that has enthralled the whole world,” wrote Bild. “Was it too much respect for their big name players? Or did the high expectations simply get to our heroes?”
But Die Welt also chose to praise the German team for their style of play during the tournament which has won them fans throughout the footballing world.
“The disappointment over the 1-0 defeat is huge. Yesterday the Spanish were the better footballers. Let’s recognise that,” the paper wrote. “And let’s celebrate what this German team has given us during these wonderful days in South Africa – namely recognition and delight from the rest of the world.”
And the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung proclaimed “the mission continues” despite the bitter end to Germany’s World Cup dream. Writing that Löw’s multicultural side had put paid to old clichés that the Germans could not play attractive football, the paper said he had the potential to become the country’s greatest coach of all time.
“That’s why Löw must face the consequences – and continue.“