November 21, 2022 3 min read
If you are a believer of the dark arts within the world of soccer, you may be aware of the supposed ‘champions curse’ – a hex that is seemingly placed on the nation that wins the World Cup and then attempts to win it again four years later.
No team since Brazil in 1962 has managed to win successive World Cup trophies and although the South American nation themselves came close to back-to-back wins in 1994 and 1998, a final defeat in Paris 24 years ago would crush such hopes.
While such hopes were also crushed in an emphatic way four years ago. The tournament was hosted by Russia, the nation that made a terrible defense of their World Cup crown was Germany and after winning outright in 2014, they were dumped out in the group stage four years later.
Embarrassment in 2018, looking to the future in 2022, and with Hansi Flick now being installed as manager of the national team, he has a group of hungry young starlets who are ready to pull on the German jersey in Qatar.
In terms of their group stage draw, it is one that looks rather kind and although a clash with fellow super heavyweights Spain will be one for neutrals, it is certainly one that manager Flick and his players could do without.
However, the group of death certainly will offer life elsewhere and Germany would rather be in their own boots than opposed to that of Japan and Costa Rica, as the two non-European nations wonder how they will climb out of Group E.
Even if this current German crop fails to earn maximum points against Spain, they should not be troubled in the other two group stage fixtures and therefore, progress to the Round of 16 will be safely secured.
Although at this stage, this is where things start to get a little more complicated. With either Belgium or Croatia lying in wait in the first knockout fixture, another all-European clash is one that will pique soccer fans’ interest around the globe.
With Belgium’s own golden generation now longer as dazzling as it once was and Croatia’s class of 2018 now sounding far creakier in their bones, either of these two hurdles should be surpassed – even though neither should be underestimated at the same time.
Especially as the likes of Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane will be ready to light up the German attack and with so many of the German squad being supplied by the perennial Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, it also allows an element of continuity throughout the team.
Continuity that also comes from the manager at the top of the tree. With Hansi Flick previously swapping leadership at Bayern to leading the nation’s best instead, he has plenty of experience when it comes to dealing with the Allianz Arena’s biggest names.
That experience will certainly set this German side in good stead for Qatar and if either half of the knockout bracket is shaped in their favor, then any path to the final may be easy to tread. However, if the bracket goes against them, this young side may succumb to an eventual knockout stage pitfall.
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