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Sunday, July 13, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Final's Thread #2 For 7/13/14: High on Low

Focus: Whether His Team Wins A 4th World Cup For Germany, Joachim Low Has Proven His Greatness

Photo from Getty Images

Two years ago, Joachim Low faced intense criticism for his German side falling to a less talented Italian side in the Euro 2012 semifinals. That skepticism on whether he was truly the man who could lead this latest golden generation of the German nation, the first as a unified collective, further popped up despite a near flawless World Cup qualifying campaign. Blowing a 4-0 lead at home against Sweden and the long drawn out feud he and Leverkusen forward Stefan Kiessling had added to the immense pressure on the 54-year-old manager.

Low could have easily folded the minute a number of his key talents started to be stricken with injuries. Ilkay Gundogan's long term back issues have ruled him out for a while. Marco Reus suffered a devastating blow knee injury right before the tournament. Mario Gomez couldn't get back to full fitness in time to make the journey. Both the Bender twins were snake bitten as well. And long forgotten leftback Dennis Aogo was the early sign of this injury onslaught with his ACL injury way back at the beginning of last season.

And those injuries continued right at the start of Brazil. Benedikt Howedes and Julian Draxler escaped a significant car injury, while Bastian Schweinsteiger had a late scare in the preparation to the opener against Portugal with his knee. Add on the concerns of Sami Khedira still trying to get back from his ACL injury, Mats Hummels dealing with his own knee injury suffered during the 4-0 win over Portugal and Shkodran Mustafi tearing his left muscle fibres against Algeria and Low (along with his players) could have easily thought that it wasn't meant to be.

All those adversities speak to how great a job Low has done, and how it is an embarrassing mistake if he is to be criticized for his team not winning a 4th World Cup. Yes, it would be a bitter disappointment, especially after their famous 7-1 victory over the host nation Brazil.  But Low's job is no less impressive or commendable for getting this Germany side through all of those physical and mental challenges to another global ultimate match.

May that not be forgotten if Germany falls short as it will be cherished if they do win their first world title as a unified nation.

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