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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Are Germany a spent force?
Germany are said to be a shadow of their former selves, but does their reputation alone mean they are still a team to be feared?Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
After winning the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974, West Germany went on to be one of the dominant forces in world football for the next 20 years and more.
Recent performances, unrest among the players and widespread criticism of German coach Erich Ribbeck have left many speculating that Germany are there for the taking at Euro 2000.
The European Championship holders will be out to prove the doubters wrong and bounce back in style - just as they did at Wembley four years ago when they were last under the microscope.
Will teams such as England crumble when faced with the Germans again or can they break free from the days of old and take them on full of confidence?
Tell us what you think now.
Are Germany a spent force?
The Bosman ruling was the beginning of the end of German dominance in international football. German clubs feel that it is cheaper to spend 2-4 million pounds to buy a Brazilian or Eastern European player than to put that money
Charles St. Amant, United States
Personally I don't think Germany are an international threat anymore. They have been a great team over the years, but they are now no threat to England although they are still a threat to lesser counties.
The Germans do have some good players, but can those good players last the full 90 minutes in a heated and fast game? Any team that can pass the ball around and keep the
Germans moving for the first 20 minutes of the match will have a great chance of beating them. Defensively the Germans looked slow against Romania. I think that even with the will to win the Germans might be exposed by England on Saturday, and you never
know, Shearer might be able to out pace someone!
As a Scotsman living in Germany, my German colleagues will be more open with me than an Englishman when it comes to discussing the "big match".
Gordon Finlay, Germany
Germany looked poor against the Romanians but still did not lose, and let's face it, the Romanians are still a capable side. I think England can beat the Germans - and the Romanians for that matter - but only if they're playing at their very best. If we do progress from the group I think we will struggle in the latter stages.
You only have to look at their football since the World Cup and you can see it's gone downhill. Besides if they still have to rely on the 39-year-old Lothar Matthaus in their squad then there has to be something wrong with the German selection procedure, or maybe Matthaus is selecting the team himself! Now Germany must face us without their best player - it's our turn now. It's time to take our ball back from the neighbour's back yard - they've had it long enough! For Saturday I predict a 3-1 win for England with goals from Owen and Scholes and the German goal will come from Scholl.
All the best lads, go get 'em and bring the Cup back to where it belongs.
Having seen all the German qualifying and friendly games of the last 20 years I can honestly say that this is the weakest German team that I have ever seen.
Alan Reece, Germany
Every team at some time or an other have their weaker moment. Germany have a very old team at the moment - good from the point of view of experience, but not so good when it comes to running around the pitch for 90 minutes. When the next lot of young talent comes through Germany will be right back at the top of the tree again. But the German's discipline, determination and will to win should see them through the England clash.
Sandra Claffey, Republic of Ireland
Germany will certainly be up against it as they go into the clash with England. Although England do have defensive frailties, their problems in this area are nothing compared to the shambolic German backline.
For every single national football team in the world there is only one way to earn widespread and honest recognition at home and abroad - beat the best, beat the Germans!
Therefore it's the opposition who keep the Germans strong ! Every team without exception performs at least three
Andreas Toth, I'm Swiss but live in Germany
Germany are merely in transition and will need to start afresh. With so many registered players they have the capacity for re-growth and regeneration.
Germany ought to fear England, for the pace of such a talented and skilful squad could pull us apart particularly at the back where our full backs are slow off the mark. I think England will win it with a confident 3-0 victory.
I still believe the Germans have the mental ability, skill, quality, tactical awareness, and importantly, the capacity to play as an efficient and strong team pulling together their massive experience. Despite all the recent criticism they still have the desire to win for themselves, their country, and us their fans. I will support them all the way in Euro 2000 and I believe they will make it to the final.
Germany are undoubtedly one of the best team in world soccer over the decades. The thing with the Germans is that they always rise to the occasion when no one expects them to. Therefore it is unfair to say that they are a spent force. Maybe on paper they look rather ageing. Nevertheless, we must not disregard the fact that the Germans are a highly disciplined and motivated team. The fact that they are the defending champions also makes them a difficult team to overcome as they would want to give their opponents a run for their money this time around.
The best team Germany had in the 1990s was the one in Italy 1990. Then the decline began. In 1994 and 1998, Germany were eliminated in the quarter finals due to lack of tactical skill and an outdated system. There are many young talents in German football nowadays.
Sven Herrmann, Germany
Being a German, I agree with the general opinion that Germany might be not as good as they used to be. However, the main reason why we won so many championships and penalty shoot-outs in the past is the mental strength of the former national teams. The current squad certainly does not lack this ability. My prediction; they won't win the championship but I'll see them in the semi-finals.
Richard Cavenecia, USA
It is ironic that Germany have not been blessed with naturally talented footballers over the years yet have performed far and above nations like Holland who seem to have a glut of talent. I think this is down to training and tactics from a very early age which produces a nation of mechanistic, highly organised players who play for each other. England have failed to beat the Germans in a major championship since 1966 because we have lacked these attributes. It is only now that we are starting to realise that skill and passion are not enough, organisational awareness and tactical acumen are paramount. I tip England to defeat Germany.
Are Germany a spent force? Never will they be but as to whether they are capable of repeating Euro '96, the answer is definitely no.
We have to believe that we can beat the Germans and then we may have a chance to finally get across that mental barrier that we seem to have when we play them. The Germans do seem to have lost their way recently and it looks like this may be our best chance for a while.
But you should always be aware of wounded animals!!
I really don't like German football because it lacks all creativity, but once they reach a certain stage in any tournament, they're a threat to anybody. So I hope they never make it to the quarter finals and that England and Portugal will progress. It is however the last chance for the old generation to prove that they're still good enough to win anything, so they won't surrender without a fight. But I find it very disappointing that the Germans still rely on golden oldies like Matthäus and Hässler. They're solid, but slow. A bit like the Romanians I guess. I think they will lose against England and Portugal and maybe get a draw against Romania. But if they do make it to the quarter finals, you better watch out for them! They know very well that a tournament doesn't end after the group stages. It's just a matter of surviving the first round and then anything can happen. Remember the Czechs in 1996, the Croatians in 1998, and the Belgians in 1986. We lost against Mexico, won against Iraq and drew against Paraguay, but in the next rounds Belgium finished off the USSR (a very strong team at that time) 4-3 and made it to the semi-finals by defeating Spain. It took a Maradona to keep us out from the final. Also in 1986, West-Germany were crap in round one, but they still played the final, remember? Just as they did in 1990. Let's hope for football's sake that they have to go back east after the first three games!
Edgar K., England
Although Germany have a fairly mediocre squad, by their standards, their win over the Czechs(ranked second in the World)shows they are getting their act together just before the tournament, as usual. Write them off at your peril!
I don't think it is a strong German team, but what they will still be is confident in their ability, and they will work for one another. Don't right them off until they are on their way home.
There was a time when Germany were fun to watch. Maybe they never had the flair of Brazil or Holland but there was always a technical excellence among even the workers and defenders. Throw in the true stars like Netzer, Rummeniege, Shuster, Littbarski etc. and you had a fine side to go with the traditional spirit and power. Now it seems that they can barely put two passes together. At times they look a like Wales or Ireland hitting long and over the top. It would be a travesty if a side as ponderous and boring as Germany were to win but before England fans get to excited about finely being able to beat them, remember that the only reason that the two sides are meeting in the first round is because it's England whose results have been so poor that they are not seeded anymore at major tournaments. The fact is that since 1970 Germany has always finished higher then England in every World Cup and every European Championship.
Jim Crothers, England
Germany can not be under estimated, they still have very good holding midfielders, which are hard to break down, and have the power to push Beckham right out of the game.
A lot of the German squad are in their late twenties with very few caps. This indicates to me that they have very few youngsters. England have the easiest group and the only team to be feared are Portugal.
The German national team have suffered poor results over the last two years. They still rely heavily on the old guard and current injuries to Jeremies and Matthaus cannot help preparations for Euro 2000. The fierce criticism recently towards the team, and their trainer Ribbeck in particular, could have a motivating influence on the team during the tournament. However, the emergence of young internationals, with the exception of Deisler, has not materialised in time for Euro 2000 and I cannot foresee progress to the final by this particular squad.
You can never write off the Germans. Everybody wrote them off in 1990 and look what they did. They are a very organised side and I think they can go all the way...if they beat England but hopefully they won't!
Never underestimate the Germans. They even won World Cups when they weren't favourites, because they've got fighting spirit and can rise to any occasion when playing competitive football. So England watch out!
Heads are rolling and the people of Germany are losing faith in their beloved team. The results prove the pudding, and never have Germany been riper for eating.
I saw the game against Holland that they played and it was a rude awakening to Ribbeck at the porous nature of the German defence. Holland could have won the match by at least seven clear goals. Kluivert gave them all sorts of problems especially with his runs off the ball and his pace. I don't think the Germans will relish facing Shearer and Owen, they may counter Owen with a man marker and force Shearer in to wide channels. They are still great tactically but they don't have the calibre of players they once had and it is beginning to show. England have a good chance of beating them but I wouldn't put any stock in it, especially with the inconsistency of England's performances in the last two years. My score is a 2-2 draw.
Yes, Germany are a spent force. They simply can't win Euro 2000 and will do well to get past the group stage. England, your day is coming !
German football has always been based on preparation and organisation not individual flair.
In that sense, there is little deterioration in their method. Jeremies and Rink might in the end be the stars of the tournament.
Two words sum up why England won't beat Germany. Kevin and Keegan.
It could well be England who struggle to qualify from Group A. Germany should never be written off and certainly not by a bunch of English fans feeling a bit cocky after a reasonable win against the Ukraine.
Why fear the Germans? Maybe at penalties but they are past it and will finish nowhere.
You can never write them off. But after England beat them 4-0 at Euro 2000 they will know their time has come.
It's true that the German team is not as good as it used to be, but they are still a force with a never say die attitude. England watch out!
On a good day, Germany could still beat England,
but we have the best chance in years
to banish the ghosts of the past. Defensively they are a
brick wall and the English luck in penalties is
not encouraging. If we are to defeat them
it must be in normal play.
Germany are not a team to be feared, but they should be respected due to their superior record in major tournaments. I think the group match against England will result in a comprehensive England win, similar to the win against Holland in '96. I do not expect the Germans to progress beyond the group stages because England and Romania will prove too strong.
Luis Flores, USA
Germany are still good enough to win any international tournament.
Just because the names are not household names anymore and they are not always working together well it's a sin to count them out as we all know how good they really can be.
Germany are a joke!
Any team that calls up a 39-year-old who does not even play at the highest level anymore (in America) has to be short of players! They are too old and too slow.
Holland are the favourites and I feel that France will not be as good as everybody thinks.
At the moment, it looks that the German team is not good as good as usual. However, at home they are making every effort to bring the team to back up to scratch. With a relatively big country and strong economy and mentality of self love and wining, the Germans are always worried about the prospect of defeat. So I would say never trust them.
Germany are not as good as they were once but come a major tournament they'll manage to lift their game especially against England.
Certainly Germany has an illustrious history in European and Global football. This, I think, will give their squad a strong motive for winning, regardless of other difficulty. I certainly don't believe that they are at any means to be excluded from the list of contenders. They show a good deal of efficiency and consistency, and I would be surprised if they were eliminated early part of the competition.
Ronald Wallstrom, Honolulu, Hawaii
Germany are no longer the force they once were. Experience and professionalism they will have in abundance, but talent and youth they lack. They will be lucky to get through a group full of pace, talent and youth.
I think Germany are certainly not the side they once were and are especially vulnerable this time. This type of speculation always arises around Germany before every tournament and they always manage to confound the critics by progressing to the latter stages of the competitions. Lets not be naive and think they'll be a walkover - overconfidence is often our biggest enemy! Lets not forget that England only finished runner up in a relatively weak group while Germany won theirs.
Nicholas Campsall, England
On paper the squad does not seem as strong as it has in previous years but the Germans have the discipline, strength and the mentality to win
Germany, even at their worst are always thoroughly disciplined.
On paper, you have to say yes. Germany's current form is not good. However, England psychologically, will always have problems beating Germany and that coupled with their superior organisation and experience, could be enough to get them in the last eight. Once there, who knows. I don't see them winning it, but I don't see them failing miserably either.
This is undoubtedly the weakest German side for 40 years. England's greatest problem will be confidence - Germany are our bogey team, and it will require real bottle to overcome them. But man-for-man we have nothing to fear, especially in midfield. Croatia beat them because they believed in themselves, and knew they were a better side.
A friend of mine who is a German saw the Switzerland match and has played for a former Bundesliga team. His opinion is that Germany "can't win a saucer, let alone a cup". Perhaps there is hope for England after all.
The German side do not have the individuals of old and have failed in recent internationals.
Mike Cross, Wales
I think Germany can win Euro 2000. Although they have an old squad they are still one of the best European teams. They have a quality goalkeeper, a solid defence, a world class midfield and Bierhoff!
No doubt about it, Germany are not the side they once were. With their ageing side and lack of young players I think it's our best chance in years of beating them. Saying that though they are still a quality outfit that oozes professionalism and experience so I won't be surprised if they put a few good results together. They can't win the tournament though.
Not likely! Many of this German squad played for Bayern against Real in the Champions League semi-final. They have a solid midfield in Hamann and Jeremies and have a world class forward in Bierhoff. However their defence is a bit suspect and lacks pace which they found out against Holland. This is an area which England might exploit. I won't be at all surprised if they reach the semi-finals. As Alan Hansen would say "Never underestimate the Germans"
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