By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- For Joachim Loew it was a perfect day. Not only because his German team were highly impressive when winning its first match at the Brazil World Cup against the brilliant counter-attackers Portugal.
Loew has for a long time not looked as deeply satisfied as he was after the stunning 4-0 victory Monday evening. Four goals are always satisfying but it was something else that has made Loew "extremely happy".
It's more than perfect when a coach scripts the plot and it all pays off. The football world saw a new Germany and a new Joachim Loew. This was a German team playing at an unchartered level. Like someone changing their style of clothing in an instant - and the color of his hair.
No central striker up front just waiting for the ball to arrive. With Mesut Oezil (Arsenal), Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos and the unorthodox Thomas Mueller (all Bayern Munich), who scored a hat-trick, the gang of four was responsible for a constant changing of positions leaving behind an opponent not knowing how to stop them. If they got an inkling of what was happening, the Germans promptly changed clothes and hair color again.
The result must have been floating around Loew's head as a colorful vision. Day after day he told the "nation" about a new piece of his plans. For most people they appeared like nothing tangible, more like a bag full of bold ideas. But it all became reality on the pitch in Salvador da Bahia.
As always it started at the back with four-man back line of which all were central defenders. There were no right or left backs propelling play forwards.
Despite the new hard-nosed style, the German set up a great piece of "ball progression". With a great will to run till they drop, with aggressiveness, effectiveness and cleverness, the Germans surprised Portugal with a strong defense and a very mobile midfield with Sami Khedira (Real Madrid) and Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich) and an always-on-the-move attack. Way over 60 percent of the tackles were won by the Germans.
There was a free kick variation that showed Loew had put a lot of thought into creating something new. Four players behind the ball, three ran over it, the fourth kicked it towards the goal, leaving the keeper in doubt who was going to be the taker. During the entire match the Germans knew by instinct when to speed up or to hold back. This was German efficiency at its best.
"It makes me proud to see how they did it," Loew said, pointing out that "we have only won the first game," and things went perfectly. "I was happy about the team spirit too. We all had the feeling of being a team that plays for each other. As I said, we are a team of 23 and we need every single player. I think this game told this story and the next matches will do the same."
Beside Mueller and his co-scorer Mats Hummels, Loew must feel like a successful architect that took a great risk by choosing a new style and saw his dreams fulfilled in the end.