Comfortable opening victories at the FIFA World Cup™ have never been a rarity for Germany. Eight years ago in Korea/Japan, they kicked off with an 8-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, before beating Costa Rica 4-2 ago on home turf in the tournament's previous edition. Still, yesterday evening's 4-0 defeat of Australia in Durban in their first Group D match at South Africa 2010 will undoubtedly go down as a particularly special night for Die Nationalmannschaft.
It has been a long time since the Germans have played such blistering attacking football. Many observers are already saying it is a first, in fact, as Joachim Low's side apparently completed their metamorphosis into one of the most attractive sides on planet football. The three-time world champions stormed out of the blocks with a fresh and fast-paced brand of technically-versed play which utilised the flanks to devastating effect.
"I think that was the key," said Miroslav Klose, who chipped in with Germany's second goal before speaking to FIFA.com. "We knew that the Australians have a lot of height in the middle, so we tried to make use of the flanks as much as possible. You saw that we're more than capable of doing that. It was very impressive in my opinion." Indeed, with Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski tearing down the line on either side, the Australian defence was left in tatters.
"We've been practising exactly that for three or four weeks now," said Podolski, who scored his team's first goal. "We wanted to get forward quickly, that's the way to play football these days. We let the ball do the work and didn't just lump it forward.
Muller added: "We switched play very effectively. We played very well and it gives us plenty of cause for optimism."
However, not only was it Germany's clever use of width that captivated the Durban crowd, but the flair with which they played. With so many youngsters in the squad keen to prove themselves on the biggest stage, Low's troops put in a performance which was full of potential. One of the main protagonists in the German midfield was Werder Bremen's Mesut Ozil. "We know that we can play football. It's a lot of fun playing with these guys," he said.
The 21-year-old is just the creative spark that Germany have been screaming out for. Ozil has a number of similarly talented team-mates alongside him in South Africa, meaning the UEFA EURO 2008 finalists are well on their way to completely revolutionising the rigid style they are renowned for.
Even so, Ozil refused to get carried away with all the post-match praise: "Now we need to make sure we put in a similar performance against Serbia," he warned. "That's what counts now."