Although Germany can take many positives out of these championships, here are a couple of reasons why I think the rest of the footballing world has some hope for the coming years.
A weakness I noticed in the German side was in central midfield. Although both Schweinsteiger and Khedira are fine players, they struggled to hold down the middle of the park with Cassano and Montolivio constantly threatening in that area, causing the Germans problems.
It used to be the case where Khedira would sit deep in the more defensive midfield position allowing Schweinsteiger to push further forward, however we have seen in this tournament, a more adventurous side to Sami Khedira.
With the recent slump in form of his midfield partner, Khedira’s presence further up the field has given Germany added muscle to their already powerful attack.
The problem arises when they both want to push upfield, and it was evident on Thursday that there were glaring gaps in front of the German defence, for a technically gifted Italian midfield to exploit.
The second weakness was in the German defence. In Mats Hummels Germany have a composed, promising central defender and at 23 has looked mature beyond his years at these championships.
However, it was evident from last night that his central defensive partner, Holger Badstuber, not only struggled with Italy’s usage of the long ball, but could also not cope with the aerial threat of Mario Balotelli.
The latter ultimately cost them the first goal. Jerome Boateng, a make-shift right back, also looked exposed to the trickery and guile of Cassano, who was able to deliver the cross that set Balotelli up for that all important first goal.
Phillip Lahm is still one of the most versatile full backs in the world, and at 28 has a wealth of experience yet still has years ahead of him at the top level.
If Germany are to succeed in the near future it is clear their defence will have to work as a collective unit rather than rely on individual performances, or else find themselves come unstuck at the latter rounds of major tournaments.
Having said all this, Germany still have a relatively young squad who are gaining experience by the match. In Mario Gomez they have an old fashioned number 9, who has a real appetite for scoring goals and can be devastating on his day as the Dutch found.
Mesut Ozil is one of the finest playmakers in the world today and has the ability to glide past players with ease, much like his Real Madrid predecessor Zinedine Zidane and teammate Kaka. With time on his side, I see no reason why Ozil cannot reach the same level of brilliance as the two great playmakers mentioned previously.
So Germany’s recent record against Italy in major competitions stands at 0-8, and they have now not won a major competition since the ’96 European championships.
With defensive frailties, and an occasionally undisciplined midfield will Germany be once again be exposed at the 2014 World Cup? England and co will certainly hope so.
image: © sdhansay