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ANALYSIS – Germany’s victory over Argentina yesterday came on the back of a 7-1 thrashing of Brazil, and have led to predictions that the future will be dominated by Joachim Low’s well organised and very young side. Of course, it could well have been different had Argentina taken their chances like Algeria during the last 16, or had the much fancied French done the same in the quarter finals. The same could also be said for the beaten finalists who scraped through their qualifying games with victories over Bosnia and Iran.

The World Cup in Brazil was a great spectacle for a number of reasons – great goals of which Mario Gotze’s was arguably the best because it won his nation the cup just as it seemed penalties were inevitable, breath taking moments like Cristiano Ronaldo’s loft in the dying seconds of the match against the USA which kept Portugal in the competition, as well as a fanastically competitive spirit that was kept alive through out the tournament and which was epitomised by Tim Cahill’s stunning volley for Australia an immediate response to Aryen Robben putting Holland in the lead.
But surely the biggest revelation of this world cup was how close the nations from Africa and America ( not forgetting Costa Rica and the USA) came to beating the sides that made it into the final, as well as other games like Costa Rica’s defeats of Italy and Uruguay and the USA’s draw with Portugal which was seconds away from being a well fought win. These sides as well as the likes of Iran, Bosnia, Algeria and Australia showed that they did not fear their more rated opponents and had they had a star player or two could well have won this competition. What they lacked is confidence something they will have gained from the last month. So expect a stronger challenge from these nations in Russia 2018.