Wherever Silvia Neid goes, success is not far behind. It was the case when she was a player, and it remains the case now she is a coach. The signs were there right at the start: she made her debut for Germany as an 18-year-old substitute against Switzerland in November 1982, and immediately scored twice in a 5-1 victory. The playmaker went on to become the first real star of the German women’s game.
As coach of the national team, Neid’s overriding goal is to plot Germany’s defence of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ at the 2011 finals on home soil, having led Birgit Prinz and Co to glory at the China 2007 tournament, her first at the national helm. The triumph in the Far East saw Neid, who was involved in all seven of Germany’s European Championship wins to date as player, assistant coach or head coach, emerge once and for all from the shadow of her illustrious predecessor Tina Theune, who she succeeded in 2005. The 46-year-old enjoys a global reputation for expertise, while her personal elegance and charming manner make her highly popular as a public speaker or interview partner.
Highlights in 2010
Team spirit and mutual respect are Neid’s fundamental principles as a coach, and she will seek to instil these attributes in her players as they gear up for the Germany 2011. She faces two major challenges: protecting her squad from the formidable weight of expectation doing the rounds at home, and fashioning a functioning unit out of an exciting new crop of future stars and a proven and hugely successful old guard. The process has already started and the early results have been promising, with the runners-up spot at the Algarve Cup, and a string of friendly wins against Korea DPR (3-0), Canada (5-0), Australia (2-1) and Nigeria (8-0).
2010 in words
"We have to ensure we’re not thrown off course by the huge expectations in the country, because we put ourselves under enough pressure as it is. We’ve got to go out and enjoy ourselves."
On the dangers of high expectations.
"If things go our way, especially when we attack, we’re hard to stop. Our initial target is clear enough: we want to come through the group stage. We’ll take it step by step. Our ultimate target is to retain the trophy. That would be tremendous, and we’ll do whatever it takes."
On her expectations for the finals.
"We want to realise our greatest dream and become world champions for the third time in a row!"
On her side’s ultimate aim for Germany 2011.