THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc328 previewWhat are the expectations for the team?
The achievements of the national team at the last three World Cups, combined with the host of titles won by Bayern Munich's homegrown players in recent years, mean that anything less than reaching the semi-finals will be viewed almost universally as a failure.

Is the coach popular?
Yes and no. Although Jögi Low's young side showed plenty of attacking intent and were unbeaten in Group C, the only points dropped came in a crazy draw with Sweden that saw a four-goal lead thrown away in the final half hour. Löw's tactics and selection for that game came in for much criticism and he still seems unsure of his strongest defensive combination. If Germany fail to live up to high public expectation at this tournament, the German FA will be on the lookout for a new coach.

Are there any players who have appeared in TV commercials or other advertising?
There has been no sign of the traditional pre-tournament Nutella advert yet on German TV. However, some fringe players will be breathing a sigh of relief about that, as advertising this product has been the kiss of death for several international careers over recent years.

Which players are good interviewees and who are 
the worst?
Thomas Müller continues to be a very engaging interviewee, not afraid to admit if his performance, or that of the team, was below par. Mesut Özil generally proves less talkative, however, while Lukas Podolski's genuine enthusiasm for the game is impossible to disguise, even if his comments rarely contain anything too deep and meaningful.

Will there be any rehearsed goal celebrations?
The Germany players tend to go in for individual celebrations – Miroslav Klose might well dust off the somersault at what will be his final World Cup, but otherwise expect high fives, back-slapping and traditional solo runs to the corner flag.

What will the media coverage be like?
The format of tournament coverage on German TV has barely changed over the years: talking heads around a table in the studio, with the experienced Béla Réthy doing the actual commentary work at the game. Oliver Kahn replaced Günter Netzer in the studio for ZDF after his retirement and has turned into an unexpectedly interesting expert summariser, while on the other state channel, ARD, Mehmet Scholl's observations tend to fall more into Jamie Redknapp territory. Kahn channels his famous aggression into forthright and opinionated comments – and if he is sharing the studio with Jürgen Klopp, the mutual dislike is palpable.

Will there be many fans travelling to the finals?
More than 50,000 tickets for the finals have been bought in Germany, so the support should be large and probably noisy, if a little lacking in originality. German media will make much of the "samba spirit" but that won't change the repertoire of the travelling fans: expect much rhythmic clapping and chanting, heavily reliant on the words "Sieg" (Victory) and "Deutschland". John Van Laer

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