Germans on course for several firsts
Germany will achieve several firsts if they win the World Cup
GERMANY v ARGENTINA
(Tomorrow, 3am, SingTel mio TV Ch 141, StarHub TV Ch 223 & MediaCorp okto)
If Philipp Lahm and Co pip Lionel Messi and gang tomorrow morning (Singapore time), it will be Germany's first World Cup final victory.
Yes, you read it right.
The Germans may have three World Cups but, technically, they were all won as West Germany, when the country was split into the federal republic (West) and democratic republic (East) blocs from 1949 to 1990, and there were two recognised national teams from Germany from 1952 to 1990.
Saarland were a third team from Germany from 1948 to 1957 that competed independently in the 1952 Olympics and 1954 World Cup qualifiers.
During those tumultous political times, West Germany won football's biggest prize in 1954, 1974 and 1990, before reunification on Oct 3, 1990, following which, East Germany and Saarland were absorbed along with their records by the current national team.
So, if Joachim Loew's men can beat Argentina in tomorrow morning's final, they will not just be feted as the first team outside the continent to win on South American soil, but they will also be the first unified Germany team to win the World Cup.
The Germans have a knack for creating history.
For a nation physically and spiritually broken after World War II and the Holocaust, West Germany became world champions for the first time by beating favourites Hungary in Switzerland in 1954.
The Mighty Magyars had beaten them 8-3 in a group match, and were leading 2-0 in the final when West Germany conjured the Miracle of Berne and produced the biggest comeback in a World Cup final to win 3-2.
"We are someone again," coach Sepp Herberger uttered after the unlikely triumph.
But, more than that, it paved the way for them to be football's history makers.
West Germany became the first European team to win three world titles post-World War II, and they kept up their ruthless habit even after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In all the 18 World Cups they've played, the Germans have always finished in the top 10 and have 16 straight top-eight finishes since 1954.
In comparison, the next best country are Brazil who started their streak of six top-eight finishes only in 1994.
Incidentally, last Tuesday the Selecao suffered their worst-ever defeat - a 7-1 Germany, who became the first team to score seven in a World Cup semi-final.
Their six-goal winning margin was a new mark, and the 29-minute blitz was also the fastest any team have grabbed five goals in the World Cup.
As a team, Germany (including West Germany) reached the final for an eighth time, more than any country, and became the all-time top-scoring team with 223 goals.
Individually, Miroslav Klose overtook former Brazil striker Ronaldo as the most prolific World Cup scorer when he found the net against Brazil - his 16th goal from four tournaments.
Even before the final, Germany are already assured of another two history-busting feats - they are the only side to make four straight semi-finals (from 2002 to 2014).
They have also top-scored in successive tournaments (they had 14 goals in 2006, 16 in 2010 and are on 17 this year).
Should Argentina take them to penalties, the Germans will feel confident as they boast a 100 per cent shoot-out record with four wins.
Perhaps the biggest blemish on their record is that they have the most number of final defeats after losing in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002.
Adding another loss to that list would be a piece of history they would loathe to create.