Quality veterans cannot be ignored, no matter how old they are
There’s this weird discourse in Germany around the veteran players in the squad, with some suggesting that they should step aside for the next generation. Italy today proved that notion false. With Leonardo Bonucci (34) and Giorgio Chiellini (36) proving to be match winners against England despite extra time and penalties shows that youth doesn’t always trump quality experience.
Germany have guys like Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels who have a lot left in the tank. They’re performing like monsters at the club level for teams like Bayern Munich and BVB, and hardly anyone in the next generation comes close to their level. Their age doesn’t matter — as long as they’re good enough, they should keep starting for Germany, no matter what young talent they bench.
Just keep the selection simple. Low somehow made people believe that national teams develop talent. They don’t. They take developed players from club football and make a working system out of it. Forcing a transition doesn’t help anyone. Play your best players.
The difference a competent coach makes
Watching Italy in this tournament, you’d never believe that they failed to qualify for the World Cup last time round. There was a general vibe back then that Italy were in a talent drought and needed to wait for a new world class crop of talent to emerge before challenging for new titles.
With this Euros win, however, that notion has clearly been blown out of the water. Roberto Mancini has taken an underrated generation of Italian talent and turned them into one of the best club teams in the world. Tactically, the Azzurri were leagues above anyone else in the Euros, and it showed in their final triumph.
With Hansi Flick in charge, Germany could well make a similar resurgence, because the talent is all there. No one should make the mistake of counting the Germans out because of what Low did. He was holding the team back — they’re capable of so much more.
Set pieces are IMPORTANT
One of the worst things about Germany (out of a very long list) in Euro 2020 was the set pieces. They were so bad that opposition teams practically didn’t need to defend on them. It felt like an afterthought for the players, and the quality suffered as a result.
A set piece is an important aspect of football. When you’re chasing a game, it can be a lifeline. Germany needs to focus on fixing its corners and free kicks in order to add a new dimension to their play. England were undone by a set piece from Italy today. What if Germany had that weapon in their arsenal a few weeks back?