Will Germany’s Jamal Musiala be the X-Factor in the 2022 World Cup?


One of the most circulated photos in the German sports media in the past year Jude Bellingham sat by Jamal Musiala, both then 17 years old and wearing the England jersey. The picture highlights the friendship between two talented players who once played against each other on ping-pong tables and video game consoles, and have now gone on to dominate the world. German Bundesliga, whereas Bellingham already had its first statement performance For england on Monday, his good friend is determined to do the same on Wednesday Germany To meet Japan Group E in the World Cup

“I think we have a really good team with which we can go really far,” Musiala told ESPN. “The quality is there to be a title contender. We go into this tournament with the mindset of being able to win the cup. You have to believe in it. I do.”

19-year-old travels to Qatar with big ambitions and Germany result world Cup The pursuit of the title hinges on Musiala more than some may realize. During the first half of the season, he Bayern Munichwhere head coach Julian Nagelsmann has started building an entire system around Musiala as his No. 10.

Germany head coach Hansi Flick, who noted the upcoming talent during his time at Bayern Munich and wanted him to choose Germany over England (where Musiala played) Chelseaacademy from 2011 to 2019) has also identified his former protégé as the centerpiece of his offensive formation, with Musiala providing an element of unpredictability due to his dribbling skills.

“Musiala is a prime example of what we like to call a ‘needle player’ – a player who moves the ball through small gaps and tight spaces between multiple opponents. His technique, but especially his agility and quick The ability to make decisions, allow him to do this like not many others,” says strategic analyst and coach Martin Raffelt.

Musiala might as well be the world’s most talented pocket footballer barcelona And spain midfielder pedi, The match between the two giants on Sunday can be quite exciting. But where Pedri is widely admired in Spain, Musiala is still underestimated in some fan circles at home. A reporter recently noted that Germany’s football over the past decade has been mainly about counter-pressure and intensity and that a slender teenager with light feet contradicts a belief system.

Raphaelt explains, “A playing style like the Musiala is often considered too risky, but it is extremely valuable for breaking down compact defences, especially as one does not need to be extremely patient to do it quickly and repeatedly. ” For decades, Germany’s style of football has revolved around passing. The World Cup winning teams of 1974, 1990 and 2014 relied heavily on accurate and intelligent passing, while dribbles were much less prominent. Musiala embodies a more provocative style in which he deliberately moves into heavily covered areas and takes on one or two opponents.

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“I think I play more aggressively than last season, where I was often used as No. 6 and had to learn that first,” Musiala says. “Now, I’ve found a position I feel really comfortable in. I also like my rhythm and take it from game to game.”

What helps Musiala deal with the mental pressure apart from his pure football skills. The close relationship with his mother, who raised him and his younger sister on her own, and the fact that he shows no interest in luxury helps him focus on his sport.

“In my time as a reporter, I have met quite a few players who are so down-to-earth, which in my opinion is not only due to the fact that they haven’t been part of this millionaire game for long but also because of his character and mentality,” says Munich-based journalist Kerry Hau, who has been following Musiala since his arrival at Bayern in 2019. Howe also attributes Musiala’s humility to his upbringing in England, where academies can be a bit tough for young prospects. “He is a man who was gifted with nothing and had to work hard for everything.”

Determined and driven in his profession, he learns the game quickly and approaches it with more maturity than most 19-year-olds, even at the highest level. “I always try to work on myself,” Musiala explains. “For example, my scoring in front of goal was already good. Still, I worked hard to be as efficient as possible, with mostly [Bayern’s] Assistant coach Dino Toppmöller after training. Now, I’m even more often in a position where I can shoot. We train in exactly the same conditions that I get during the game. The kind of goals I score now, I’ve already scored in training.”

Musiala’s ability not only to create goal-scoring opportunities for others through his dribble, but also his willingness to score himself could be crucial for Germany during the World Cup, as the four-time champions have their own The team does not have a top-class striker.

“He’s transcended prospect status since the summer,” Howe says, which you can tell by how he interacts with reporters. “He’s a lot more relaxed and not so shy anymore. He’s now a guy who has no issues with the demands of playing physically and in the starting line-up every three days.”

Perhaps some find it worrying that Flick has to rely on a 19-year-old who is currently in only his second full season at the senior level, but Musiala is undoubtedly a generational talent with unique qualities. “He shares a playing style Mario Gotze and somewhat with Kai Havertz, leroy sane And Julian BrandtBut he is able to do it with more drive towards goal than Götze and also needs less space than the other three,” says Raffelt.

Mario Götze was Germany’s golden boy a decade ago, having fallen from grace in the years following his World Cup-winning goal in 2014. Thanks for the resurgence in the Bundesliga Eintracht Frankfurt This summer, Flick gave Götze a new chance by picking him for the World Cup squad. The on-the-pitch similarities between Gotze and Musiala are an advantage for both in that Gotze can serve as a backup to the starting playmaker, while Musiala may be able to benefit from Gotze’s experience.

a mentor figure for Musiala Manchester City‘s ilke gundogan, which has been quoted as telling Musiala during games that he will protect his back areas because Gundogan wants his young team-mate to flourish. Those veterans who were part of the 2018 World Cup campaign that ended in a group stage exit know that Musiala brings something that no one else can.

His unpredictability might be exactly what Germany need, especially in games where long periods of possession go nowhere. For a 19-year-old to be a potential difference-maker for a country like Germany is certainly an overwhelming task, but Musiala has the tools to handle it.

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