Golden Boy, Golden Goal
So an unforgettable Brazil 2014 finishes with yet another amazing goal as Germany lift their fourth World Cup trophy, the first time since unification. In doing so they have established a plethora of records that will take a long time to be broken - if ever. They have now made 8 appearances in the Final, more than any other team. The 7-1 demolition of Brazil was the highest score in a semi-final. They are the first European team to win the cup in South America. Miroslav Klose became the highest World Cup goal scorer with 16 in 4 World Cups (a record that team mate Thomas Muller will surely be eyeing up). And to top it all, Mario Gotze's goal was the first to be scored by a substitute in a World Cup Final. So congratulations to Germany, undoubtedly the best team in the competition.
For England we are left to overanalyse our failures, look for a scapegoat and lose ourselves in the endless summer transfer gossip. But we are not suffering alone in this World Cup hangover, Italy, Portugal and most notably Spain all crashed out after poor Group Stage performances. And the wounds inflicted by Brazil's last two games in the semi-final and third place play-off look like they could take a while to heal. However, we can take some heart from the fact that not long ago Germany found themselves in a similarly pessimistic state as ourselves. After going out of Euro 2000 at the Group Stage (losing to England 1-0 and Portugal 3-0) they went on to lose 1-5 at home to England in 2001 in a World Cup qualifier (even Heskey scored) - only making it through to the tournament itself via the play-offs.
From that point they started to rebuild for the future and the current team consists of a group of young players that have come up through the ranks together, much like the class of 92'. A nucleus are at one club, Bayern Munich. In England, we now have a group of exciting young players at one club: Sturridge, Sterling, Henderson and Lallana will be playing together week in week out. It might not feel that way now, but there is still hope for us - a lot can happen in 4 years.
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