Here are the key players of Die Mannschaft, the German National Football Team.
Neuer’s “sweeper-keeper” playing style distinguished him from other starting goalkeepers in the 2014 World Cup. This was credited with allowing his teammates to press deep in their opponents’ half, plus Neuer’s willingness to come out and challenge opposing attackers caused them to miss shots on net. Neuer’s outfield roaming which had made him the team’s “11th man” has been attributed to the coaching he received from Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola.
After keeping clean sheets in group matches against Portugal and the United States, Neuer recorded his third clean sheet of the World Cup in the 1–0 quarter-final defeat of France. This was his 22nd clean sheet overall in his 50th appearance for die Nationalmannschaft. In the semi-finals, Neuer conceded a late goal as his team routed hosts Brazil 7–1.
On 13 July, in the FIFA World Cup Final against Argentina, Neuer was not heavily tested but he nonetheless commanded his penalty area well, challenging attacking runs by Gonzalo Higuaín and Rodrigo Palacio that caused them to shoot wide of the net (ending up Argentina finished without a shot on goal despite several good chances). Early in the second half, Neuer punched the ball clear before colliding with Higuaín at the edge of the box.Germany ultimately defeated Argentina 1–0 thanks to a Mario Götze goal in extra time. Neuer won theGolden Glove award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
Götze was named in the starting line-up against Portugal in the team’s opening match, winning the penalty kick for Germany’s opening goal on his World Cup debut.In the team’s second match, he scored the opening goal and was named the Man of the Match in a 2–2 draw with Ghana.Götze played just 14 minutes in the 0–1 win against the United States,half of the Round of 16 win against Algeria and seven minutes in their quarter-final 0–1 win over France The fact that the German coach Joachim Löw brought on Julian Draxler for his first minutes of the World Cup in Germany’s semi-final 7–1 hammering of Brazil, keeping Götze benched throughout, perhaps meant as a wake-up to him.
In the World Cup final against Argentina, Löw substituted 36-year-old Miroslav Klose after 88 minutes with Götze and told him, “Show the world you are better than Messi and can decide the World Cup.”Götze scored the only goal of the match in the 113th minute, controlling André Schürrle’s cross on his chest before volleying the ball into the net, giving Germany their fourth World Cup.He became the first substitute to score a World Cup winning goal, and the youngest player to score in a World Cup Final since fellow German Wolfgang Weber in 1966, who was also 22.Götze was also named the Man of the Match.
During Germany’s 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, Kroos scored his first two competitive international goals in a 6–1 win over Ireland in Dublin. On 6 September 2013, he scored the team’s second goal in a 3–0 win over Austria.
Kroos was named in Germany’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.In the team’s opening match, a 4–0 defeat of Portugal, Kroos started in midfield and assisted Mats Hummels for Germany’s second goal.In the semi-final against the host nation Brazil, Kroos scored two goals two minutes apart (24′ and 26′) in Germany’s 7–1 win.He also recorded his fourth assist of the tournament, crossing for Thomas Müller’s opening goal, and was named man of the match by FIFA.Kroos has been nicknamed Garçom (“waiter” in Portuguese) by the Brazilians for precisely delivering most passes to the strikers.
On 11 July, Kroos was named on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA’s Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player.
The Castrol Performance Index, the official statistical analyser of the World Cup, rated Kroos as the best player at the 2014 World Cup, with a rating of 9.79 out of 10.
Müller scored his first World Cup qualifying goals on 22 March 2013, scoring Germany’s opener and final goal in a 3–0 away win over Kazakhstan.He also scored in the 3–0 victories over Austria and Faroe Islands to give him four goals in Germany’s successful qualification campaign.
On 16 June 2014, in Germany’s opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup,Müller scored the first hat-trick of the tournament and was named man of the match in a 4–0 win against Portugal. In addition, he was also the target of Pepe’s headbutt in the 37th minute, which resulted in the Portuguese defender being sent off.He denied that he had “overplayed” the situation leading to the red card.On 26 June, Müller scored the only goal of the final group match against the United States to help the Germans win Group G and dispelled fear of collusion between German coach Joachim Löw and American coach Jürgen Klinsmann to play to a draw as had occurred in 1982.
On 8 July, he scored Germany’s opening goal in the 7–1 semi-final defeat of Brazil.This goal was Germany’s 2000th goal in its history. Müller has now scored at least five goals in each of his first two World Cups, making him only the third player to do so (after Teófilo Cubillas and teammate Miroslav Klose).With the goal, he has tied Helmut Rahn with 10 World Cup goals.
On 11 July, Müller was named on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA’s Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player. Having played a major role in the team’s World Cup triumph, Müller received the Silver Boot as the tournament’s second top goalscorer with five goals, and was also named in the World Cup All Star XI.
Prior to the start of Euro 2016 qualification, Schweinsteiger was appointed as the new captain for Germany after Philipp Lahm’s retirement.He made his first appearance in qualification in a 2–0 win against Georgia. On 11 October 2015, Germany qualified for UEFA Euro 2016. On 17 May 2016, Schweinsteiger was selected for Germany’s 27 man provisional squad for UEFA Euro 2016. On 31 May 2016, Schweinsteiger was selected for Germany’s final 23 man squad for UEFA Euro 2016. For the first time in Schweinsteiger’s international career, he will captain Germany to The Euros. On 12 June 2016, Schweinsteiger scored in the stoppage time after coming on late in a 2–0 group stage victory over Ukraine.
On 9 August 2011, Draxler scored on his debut for the Germany U-21 side in the 4–1 win over Cyprus U-21 in a 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualifier.
On 7 May 2012, he was one of two uncapped players called up into the provisional squad for the UEFA Euro 2012 senior side for Germany. On 26 May 2012, Draxler made his debut for the senior side playing in Germany’s 5–3 loss to Switzerland, coming on as a substitute replacing Lukas Podolski in the 62nd minute. His first international goal was scored on 2 June 2013 in a friendly against the United States. The goal was scored in the 81st minute to bring the score to 3–4, finishing a rebound off goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Draxler captained Germany in a goalless friendly against Poland in Hamburg on 13 May 2014, a match in which seven of his teammates were debutants.
In June 2014, he was named in Germany’s 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.Draxler made his first World Cup appearance as a 76th-minute substitute for Sami Khedira in the semi-final 7–1 victory over Brazil.
Podolski was part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup campaign. Prior to the tournament, he played in five qualification matches. In the World Cup Finals in Brazil, he appeared in the victories over USA and Portugal in the group stages, but did not play the full 90 minutes.
On 7 November 2014, Hector was called up to the Germany national football team for the first time ahead of a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Gibraltar and a friendly against Spain. Manager Joachim Löw said “We want to get to know Jonas Hector better; he’s in good form for Cologne.” He made his debut in the 4–0 win over Gibraltar in Nuremberg on 14 November, replacing Erik Durm for the last 18 minutes.
On 4 September 2015, he started a Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland at left back and assisted goals for Thomas Müller and Mario Götze thus further staking his claim to the left back position for Germany.
On 29 March 2016, Hector scored his first goal for Germany in a 4–1 win over Italy in Munich.
On 31 May 2016, Hector was named in Germany’s final 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016.