… who remain unbeaten at the World Cup.
I’d love Holland to win the trophy, after watching those brilliant Dutch teams of the 70s dip out to hosts West Germany and Argentina.
Before the tournament I picked Brazil (the only country to win the World Cup on a foreign continent, which they’ve done twice), then Germany.
But I picked the Germans for their mental toughness. Not their flair.
But what flair they now have — similar, ironically, to Cruyff’s Dutchmen of ’74.
This is a very special German team — the only team since Pele’s Brazil in 1970 to score four goals three times in the one World Cup.
And as this comparison shows, they’ve done it with two games to spare, conceding only one goal in those wins, as against the greatest-ever Brazilian side’s four:
beat Czechoslovakia 4-1
beat Peru 4-2
beat Italy 4-1
beat Australia 4-0
beat England 4-1
beat Argentina 4-0
So my head says that unless they implode like the Hungarians of 1954, Germany will beat both Spain and Holland.
(Which will leave only one Zealand unbeaten :-))
Of course, a Dutch patriot could make a similar argument for the Oranje. They’ve now gone 26 matches unbeaten, with 14 straight wins in this World Cup if you include qualifying.
But then Ferenc Puskas’s Hungarians had gone 31 games without tasting defeat. They’d thrashed West Germany in the first round, reigning runners-up Brazil in the quarters, and reigning champs Uruguay in the semis.
Their form continued in the final, where they led the Germans 2-0. But they peaked too soon and the rest is history…
beat South Korea 9-0
beat West Germany 8-3
beat Brazil 4-2
beat Uruguay 4-2
lost to West Germany 2-3
I guess, as any Crusaders fan knows, it’s about who’s ahead at the end of the last match.
If Klose can avoid getting red carded against Spain, I still think it’ll be those fearless young Germans.