Toronto's World Cup Warriors: The German
The Team: Germany
World Cup history: Have won the World Cup three times in 1954, 1974, and 1990.
First round schedule: Australia (June 13, 2:30 pm), Serbia (June 18, 7:30 am), Ghana (June 23, 2:30 pm).
The Fan: Carl Nanders, 32.
Occupation: Business strategy director.
Favourite player: Currently it's Mesut Ăâzil, but all time it's got to be Bernd Schneider.
How far do you think your team will go in the tournament?: This year is really hard to predict. There has been huge turnover in the team, and it has one of the youngest average ages at the Cup this time around. Having said that, quarterfinals at least is an easy prediction, since Germany have never failed to make it at least that far. I'll say semi-finals, like in 2006.
What's the key to your team's success this year?: Not needing veteran experience. The "senior" players in this squad are in their mid-20s, and half the starters are basically transplanted from the youth team that won the European champsionship last summer. If the young players play together the way they have been on the youth teams, we'll go far.
Where will you be watching the games?: Mostly at home, with friends. If we make the final, I might be coaxed out to the Musket.
Any pre-game rituals?: Hang a huge black red and gold flag in my living room. Wear my jersey. Bite my nails. That's about it.
Which team is your most hated rival and why?: A lot of England fans consider us their most hated rival. But it's a pretty one-way rivalry. A lot of Germany fans' rivalry is with the Netherlands. I don't share that; they're probably the team I'd most like to see do well as long as it's not at our expense. The closest I have to a hated rival (and it's frustrated, not hated) is Italy. Partly because living on Toronto means facing Italy in the knockout rounds feels like an away match, but mostly because Italy are one of the few teams in the world that we seem to never be able to beat.
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