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Three quick thoughts: Germany-Australia


Three quick thoughts after Germany's 4-0 thrashing of Australia in Group D:

1. Germany has looked the best of any team thus far. It is early. Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands and other top sides have yet to play. But among those countries with a game under its belt, Germany has been by far the best. The integration into the squad of special young talents like Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira, the fluidity of the midfield, with players interchanging positions and moving well off the ball, it was a joy to watch and impossible for Australia to stop. Some thought Germany was a little too young to win the World Cup, but after one game they look like a side with the perfect mix of youth and experience. As for the loss of captain Michael Ballack, he wasn't missed thanks to the play of Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

2. Australia looked old. Any praise of the Germans should include the caveat they they were playing a side well past its expiration date. The Socceroos had a nice run in 2006, and elected to bring back the majority of that team. But the likes of Lucas Neil (32), Brett Emerton (31), Craig Moore (34) and others looked their age. The red card referee Julian Rodriguez Santiago showed Tim Cahill in the 56th minute was probably undeserved, but call it the sum of the many poor tackles, elbows, holds, etc. that the aging Socceroos resorted to as they tried to keep up with their more spry opponent. Australia waited a little too long to begin the youth movement, unlike Germany.

3. Joachim Löw made the right call. Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose had poor club seasons, and there was a concern that it would carry over to the World Cup. Löw, Germany's manager, stuck with two players who starred in 2006, and they repaid him by scoring the first two goals, Podolski in the 8th minute off a feed from Müller, and Klose in the 26th minute on a header off a deep cross from Philipp Lahm. Klose missed two other great chances, and Cacau, the Brazilain-born striker, replaced him in the 68th minute and scored on his first try, but there would still seem to be little reason for Löw to go away from Klose or Podolski now.