Lesson Learned for Germany

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  • Lesson Learned for Germany

Defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. Following the stunning defeat of Spain to Switzerland, Germany got a dose of their own medicine, failing to score a goal against surprise winner Serbia.


The match served as a reminder that no team is safe in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Serbia, who came into the match as heavy underdogs, turned back Die Mannschaft, who scored the lone goal of the match at the 38th minute. Serbia’s Milan Jovanovic did the damage for his side, while Germany’s Podolski missed several great chances to equalize later in the game.


As expected, Germany had control of the ball and had numerous chances to put the game away. One thing was surprising though—Serbia’s defense held up against the three-time world champions. Serbia took the stab, and Germany felt the pain of losing a group stage match in a long, long time.


After the final whistle blew, dismay and disbelief were apparent on the squad’s young faces. Their confidence and hopes came tumbling back to Earth, with a crash heard across the planet.


But Joachim Low’s boys are showing more maturity than expected. The more seasoned players like Arne Friedrich still managed to find something positive from the disappointing result.


"Who knows what this setback might do for us. It's better to lose now than in the knockout stages," said the center-back who touts 74 caps for his country. "This is the point in time where we have to give it everything," he said. "It's now a must-win game for us, and that may be the best thing about the situation."


As one of the older boys in the team, Friedrich knows that he has to shrug off the loss and shoulder the emotions of the younger players. And he knows that it is up to them if the team is to defeat Ghana and finally reach the Round of 16.


Make no mistake about it—Friedrich is extremely disappointed with the loss. He was happy with the overall performance, but a dominant showing may be for naught if you cannot score a goal. But the Hertha Berlin player is experienced enough to understand that setbacks like these can happen. The important thing is how you can bounce back from adversity.


“You've got to say we imposed ourselves on the match from the start, we never shirked a challenge, and we battled to the end. We showed lots of character… It's a tough situation, but the best aspect is that we can make amends in a relatively short space of time. That'll be our focus now," said Friedrich.


Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller are two youthful and talented footballers, but perhaps too green to rebuild the dented confidence of Die Mannschaft. In fact, the mercurial Ozil was lost for words immediately following the match. Muller, meanwhile, could only offer a modest post-match analysis.


But the words of Arne Friedrich tell us that Germany has maturity on their side. Their team may be composed of rookies on the international stage, but players like him will always serve as the anchor amidst turbulent waters.


It is still too early to tell whether the loss will make or break Germany. If the young ones manage to get it out of their heads and turn it into inspiration, then we may have yet to see the best of Germany. But if they can’t, then Friedrich will have to play a more crucial role-- that of an older brother whom the young ones can turn to when the going gets tough.


And you can bet that Germany faces tough times ahead.


Nevertheless, Germany has learned a valuable lesson today. The exuberance of youth can be quelled by experience—at least in a football match.


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