When I look back on those hazy (or not so hazy) days before Joachim Löw became a World Cup winning coach there is one thing that stands in my mind I remember constantly being thrown at me (perhaps a polite way of saying it) by those who sought to denegrate the Bundestrainer at that time in his career.
“Winning in football is all that counts”
“A coach is nothing until he has won a major trophy”
“He’s a loser” (or in the cases of the more illiterate the nauseating ‘looser’)
Perhaps it has been the recent Euro 2016 draw that has brought the doubters and detractors out from their previously happy little home in the woodwork, but out again they have indeed crawled, now vaguely inferring that there are “questions” being asked about Jogi’s ability (yet not stating exactly by whom) and that ‘it is still not clear’ whether he is a good or bad coach (these persons unknown, apparently, living their lives in a permanent fog of incomprehension as to what winning a World Cup means).
My usual answer to these harbingers of doubt is that, as far as reality is concerned, Jogi’s ability as a coach only has to be ‘clear’ to one group of people and that is his bosses at the DFB, the only people to whom he is answerable. However it is also pleasing to see those knowledgeable in the game, his fellow coaches and senior ex-professionals, all of whom have experienced the game at the sharp end such as Vicente del Bosque and Alex Ferguson sing his praises. There appears to be no doubt in their minds.
Now that he has won the highest honour a national coach could win, a new form of attack has to be adopted. Winning, apparently, no longer counts for anything. We need to assess any triumph in a multitude of “What ifs” and “Buts” explaining how things “could” have gone differently in Germany’s World Cup campaign, and that argument alone proves Jogi’s lack of ability as a coach.
But why stop only at Jogi? Should we not extend our mean-spirited attitude to any coach who has won the World Cup?
Let’s take Helmut Schon in 1974. He doesn’t deserve any credit either. After all, if Jack Taylor had realised Bernd Hölzenbein was diving, he wouldn’t have given the penalty, would he, and West Germany would not have equalised, would they?
And why even stop at football? Shall we also say England didn’t deserve to win the Ashes in 1977 because the Aussies should have taken their catches? Yes, let’s do that too.
But if I was you, I wouldn’t say it within earshot of Sir Ian Botham or Geoffrey Boycott…
Joking aside, I think this shows how the using of the hypothetical “What if” simply as a means to justify an opinion can simply slide into ridicule. In fair argument and debate, naturally, this must also be applied when the luck was against the subject. A fact conveniently ignored by those using it to discredit Löw
“What if Germany had scored in the first few minutes against Italy”
“What if Thomas Müller hadn’t been unfairly suspended against Spain”
“What if Toni Kroos hadn’t hit the crossbar”
and so on.
Joachim Löw is a World Cup winning coach. (How I never tire of saying that!!) He coached Germany to the World Cup in Brazil. That makes him a great coach if, as I was so often told in the months leading up to July 2014 “the only thing that matters in football is winning trophies”. He will go down in sporting history (physics and the end of the earth aside) for eternity and has achieved more in his life than you, I and 99% of social media ever will.
Just accept it.
“But if Higuain hadn’t missed, then Argentina would have won the World Cup”
Yes. And if my Auntie had been born with balls, she would have been my Uncle.