Germany v Argentina
Mario Gotze, one of Germany's batch of young players, celebrates his World Cup winner.

To an English audience starved of football success for almost half a century, it just seems so unfair. Those dastardly Germans, with three World Cups already to their name, had to go and add a fourth in a tournament which saw England dumped out in the group stage. And they did it by scoring a total of 18 goals while conceding only five, and pulverising the host nation in one of the most one-sided games of football ever seen at international level.

At least when the Germans were dominant during the 80s and 90s we could snigger at their perms and mullets, and sneer at their penchant for collapsing to the ground under the slightest pressure. But this lot seem positively likeable; young, clean-cut, well-spoken and quick to smile, they personify everything we would want our own team to be about.

Why can't we have some of that? Why can't our sorry mob play, and act, like the Germans? Why can't we have a taste of the glory, of the drama of reaching the latter stages of a major tournament, something our teutonic cousins must now view as a divine right?

Well, if you want an answer, you have to go back to 2000. Both England and Germany were knocked out of that year's European Championships in the group stages. England looked clueless under Kevin Keegan but the Germans were even worse. We even managed to beat them thanks to an Alan Shearer header in Charleroi.

The English FA's response to the national team's failure was to hire an expensive foreign manager. Sven Goran Eriksson, then the acme of designer foreign coaches, was hired on a reported £6m per year. Few people quibbled about the salary at the time; we were all too busy swooning over his expensive suits and polyglot charm.

The Germans, in contrast, went back to the grassroots, ripping up their youth development structure and starting afresh. A new organisation called the German Football League (DFL) was created to oversee the professional game, and this fledgling body ordered all clubs to build their own youth academies, with a set of requirements covering every conceivable detail, no matter how minute.

The new focus extended far beyond the professional academies. A total of 121 national talent centres were created, each employing two full-time coaches. The cost of building and staffing the centres came to less than £2 million a year; small beer compared to what the English FA were paying Eriksson.

The changes took time to bear fruit. Indeed, for a while at the start of the noughties, it looked as though the England team would finally emerge from the shadow of German dominance. That 5-1 victory in Munich was so emphatic, so brilliant, that it looked like England, and their fabled 'golden generation', had finally turned the tide.

But England's glittering vision quickly lost its lustre, while Germany's own golden generation began to emerge, shimmering far more brightly than England's ever had. In 2009 Germany's Under-21 team sent a chilling message by hammering England 4-0 in the European Championships; a year later the full national side, to which a core of those Under-21 champions had already graduated, inflicted an equally comprehensive drubbing at the World Cup in South Africa.

Now the gap between England and our oldest footballing enemies has reached chasmic proportions. We may have two players of huge promise in Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, but how many do Germany have? Given that they won the World Cup without needing the likes of Julian Draxler and Marco Reus, perhaps it's best we don't know the answer.

Whereas England rely on street footballers such as Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney to emerge from nowhere, the German system leaves nothing to chance. Their young talents may not possess the off-the-cuff, off-the-wall genius of Gazza or Wazza, yet they churn out entire teams filled with multi-functional players and rounded human beings who can cope with the demands of big tournaments, and view the pressure as something to savour rather than dread.

Instead of looking on with jealousy and bitterness, the English football community should look upon Germany's latest champions as an inspiration. Instead of throwing a mountain of cash at a suave foreign coach next time our team hits the skids, we need to create a proper plan to ensure we can look to the future in expectation, rather than hope. We already have a fantastic new nerve centre at Burton on Trent, but this is only the start.

Every town and city across the country deserves its own state-of-the-art training facilities, and the FA should provide them. If this means foregoing an expensive national team manager, then so be it. And, at professional level, quota systems should be introduced to the Premier League. This would undoubtedly lead to clashes with those who run the clubs, yet they should realise that a strong England side would jack up attendances and merchandise sales across the country. Trusting young players is in their interests too.

The England side can be great again – our passion for football is too strong, our past achievements too storied, for us to simply recede from the summit of the world game. Yet, before we can even think about taking on the Germans on an equal footing, we have to swallow our pride and follow their example.