Arguably the most prestigious sporting trophy on earth has changed hands today, passing from former champions Spain to – for the fourth time – the national team of Germany. Having a love of the game nearly as deep as my Germanic roots, I was quite happy with the result.
And this win has come via a new nation. A quick look at the roster reveals that this is not your Opa’s Deutschland.
Playing perhaps his greatest football yet was defender Jerome Boateng, son of a Ghanan father. Setting a record for most career World Cup goals (16) was the perpetually humble Miroslav Klose, born in Poland. Midfield play-maker Sami Khedira missed the final due to a freak injury during warm-ups, but his work in preceding games made this son of a Tunisian one of the key pieces of Germany’s evolutionary success. Turkish-German Mesut Oezil was not at his best, perhaps overused by his club side in England’s Premier League. Compensating for his exhaustion were substitutes Lukas Podolski, born in Poland, and Shkodran Mustafi, born in Germany from Albanian parentage.
When asked how they were able to succeed in this most entertaining and competitive tournament, the overriding consensus among the players is that they were able to fuse their talents as a team.
Of course, all of this might be called into question had they not advanced out of the group stage, but the undeniable evidence prevails that this nation – the most successful economy in Europe, and now the champions of the world sport – has porous borders, and is not weakened by it.