CAPE TOWN -- Disbelief was the main reaction among the German press contingent in the Green Point stadium. Not surprise. Not amazement. Not even astonishment. It was utter disbelief.
Yes, there was a sense (or a promise, maybe?) that Germany could be good. Very good even. But, to paraphrase
Willpower and hard work? Löw was selling his team deliberately short by concentrating on the old "German virtues," the default modus of every German team in past competitions, especially those who had problems stringing more than one pass together. The DFB coach was obviously trying to reign in the euphoria with his comments but then he quickly conceded that it wasn't really necessary. "The players were celebrating but there is no danger that they will go overboard emotionally. Most of them are already thinking ahead, towards the next game."
Löw, the CEO of the young "Germany 2010" startup, seemed almost happier to talk about Argentina's weaknesses -- "they're a split team in midfield, with offensive players who don't come back and one defensive player who doesn't create, " he said. But then the man whose contract with the German football federation expired on Wednesday and is yet to be extended allowed himself a hint of triumphalism.
"We decided to bring in many young players after the Euros," said Low. "We knew it would be risky, we knew we might lose one friendly or two. But we had confidence in the players. I told my players 'you are younger, faster and fitter than your opponents, they will have problems.' The transition has worked out."
That's a bit of an understatement, really. The whole of Germany is at his feet, grateful for much more than reaching the third semifinal in a row (in 2006, he was
It's worth remembering that as a manager Löw has (only) won one German FA Cup and one Austrian championship before. As a player, he was nothing special, a record-goal scorer for second division SC Freiburg. His predecessors