In this year’s Euro tournament, Germany were one of the favourites for the win. Journalists and pundits alike commented on Germany’s players and tactics, making them out to be some sort of ultimate team. Many thought Die Mannschaft would make it through to the end, possibly even destroying the Spanish team, also predicted to make it to the final (and, of course, did).
In the words of Public Enemy and Alex Turner, don’t believe the hype. After watching Germany in the group stages, although, admittedly, they were good and won all their games, they were nowhere near this “superman” status that pundits were giving them.
Although I was pretty sure that Germany would get through the group stages (even though I wanted Denmark and Holland to win Group B), I was cynical of the German team being branded as an unstoppable force. Just by looking at the results, it shows that Germany weren’t massively above the other teams in their group. In all their group games, they only won by a one-goal margin. And although Mario Gómez was doing well, even in the running for the Euro Golden Boot, in my opinion midfielder Mesut Özil’s performances were also slightly overhyped.
Pundit Alan Shearer even said something along the lines of (and don’t quote me here) “perhaps it’s best England lost to Italy, Germany would have beaten and embarrassed us in the semi-finals”. Really? Although England were relatively sloppy against Italy after the first half, they still maintained a clean sheet, losing on penalties instead (which was expected really due to England’s bad record with penalty shootouts). The Italian side, who could not score against England, then won 2-1 against Germany, with Germany’s only goal being from a penalty. I’m not saying that England are a better team than Germany, but surely England would have been in with a chance of beating them.
From what I saw, the only game where Germany massively overpowered the opposition was the Germany v Greece quarterfinal, which was likely anyway. And even the Greeks managed an equaliser in the 55th minute, making the score 1-1, and then scored another goal from a penalty in the 89th minute.
Essentially, Germany were overhyped. They were bigged up so much that everyone believed they could make it all the way to the final. Don’t get me wrong, they are a good team, but personally I don’t think there should have been any certainty that Germany could get to the final.