Germany, the reigning World Cup champion, was probably the best team at Euro 2016. Thanks to some poor finishing and a very unlucky hand ball just before the halftime whistle, they fell to France. But they were apparently able to see that game for what it was — unlucky — and have not abandoned their strategy. Joachim Löw is still manager and they're still playing the same possession-based game, in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with fullbacks bombing forward while Toni Kroos starts attacks and Mesut Özil sets up the scoring chances.
This appears to have been a very good decision. On the evidence of Germany's extremely convincing 3-0 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday (and their other two shutout wins since the Euros), they still have a claim to the title of best international team on the planet. Their goals came off high-percentage shots at the end of impressive build-ups, and the Czechs created zero quality chances. They finished the match with zero shots on target.
And while Germany's strategy has remained mostly unaltered, Löw did have to make one enforced stylistic change for this game. Because Mario Gómez and Max Kruse are injured, Löw doesn't have great options up top. Marco Reus, often a starting winger for the team and a candidate for emergency center forward, is also out injured. So Löw turned to Mario Götze, likely his fourth option, and a player who has yet to find his form for Borussia Dortmund this season.
That change helped produce some of the best soccer that Germany has played under Löw. While Götze didn't get on the box score with a goal or assist, he was a major contributor on all three goals with his runs away from the center of the pitch opening up space for Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos. He was also excellent in helping to retain and circulate possession, preventing the Czechs from winning the ball back and starting counters. The upgrade that he provided over Kruse and Gomez in the possession game helped Germany's defense as much as it helped their attack.
Germany's third goal showed off a lot about what makes them great: the precision of passing, the decisiveness, Özil's through ball, and Jonas Hector's cross that gets met by Müller's excellent run and crisp finish. Team goals don't get much better.
Credit: user giroudoldsch on r/soccer
The other fullback, Joshua Kimmich, picked up an assist as well. Center backs Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels were great with their distribution from the back too. Everything went right for Germany, with all players contributing to all phases of play in a positive way.
Even though Germany were dethroned at the Euros, there's no reason to believe they can't win their next two international tournaments. France and Portugal will retain bragging rights until the Confederations Cup, but if we're being honest, Germany is still Europe's best team. And with Götze showing off how dangerous they look with a false nine up top instead of a true center forward, they might get even better.