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World Cup: Joachim Loew's planning pays off for Germany

Published July 14, 2014 12:03 pm

World Cup • Coach led team to first final win since 1990.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rio De Janeiro • The World Cup title for Joachim Loew and his "golden generation" crowned a process that was 10 years in the making. With a talented crop of new players coming through, the future looks bright for Germany.

The 1-0 victory over Argentina at the Maracana that gave Germany its fourth title and made it the first European team to win the championship on South American soil completed a circle for Loew that began in 2004, when he became Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant.

The two friends began plotting how to bring the title back to Germany and rejuvenated the team, creating an attacking, entertaining style that pleased the eye and promised success.

Germany fell short at home in 2006, finishing third, and Klinsmann stepped down to leave Loew in charge. Loew's team reached the final of Euro 2008, finished third again at the 2010 World Cup and was a semifinalist at Euro 2012. With doubts growing whether Loew's Germany could ever become a champion, the team pulled off the historic run in Brazil, including a stunning 7-1 victory in the semifinal.

"It was time," Loew said after the final. "It's the product of many years of work. And it's something for eternity."

A meticulous planner who leaves little to chance, Loew made risky decisions that turned out right. He gave key midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger time to slowly nurse himself back into the team after a series of injuries and Schweinsteiger was one of the heroes of the final. Loew reshuffled the defense when needed and returned his only true striker, Miroslav Klose, to the starting line-up.

"The coach has really deserved the title," Schweinsteiger said. "He managed to keep all players happy and that's incredible, to his credit. He really had the entire team behind him."

Forward Thomas Mueller, who led the team with five goals, said he was pleased for Loew.

"I am happy for the coach, because he was always in the final or semifinal in recent years," Mueller said.