Germany failed to reach the knockout stages at a World Cup for the second time in a row, failing to chase away the demons from an ignominious same-stage exit in 2018.
Germany got a much-needed victory over Costa Rica, beating the team 4-2, but didn’t factor in Spain’s defeat at the hands of Japan, who overcame their opponents after confirming a controversial second goal.
The German press was quick to vent their frustration in the national team, with Bild headline declaring: “What an embarrassment! We’re out!”
“For the second time in a row, Germany have missed the round of 16 of a World Cup,” began the report on Germany’s exit. “The bitter record: an embarrassing defeat against Japan, a good draw against Spain and a sensational victory against Costa Rica.
“It’s a shame!”
Germany’s World Cup campaign began with a lackluster performance against Japan, which saw them lose 2-1 after breaking the deadlock with a penalty scored by Ilkay Gundogan. A draw on the ground against Spain kept them in the tournament, and a shock victory for Costa Rica over Japan meant group hierarchy, and whoever progressed to the next round, made it to the final match.
Image he summed up the deflated mood after the final whistle of Germany’s hard-fought but ultimately futile victory, stating that it was not believed that after Russia 2018 “things would get worse”.
“The world of football trembled before us,” they continued. “We have been praised as a ‘tournament team’.
“Now, Germany is just a football dwarf.”
Rather than blame the decision taken by Var officials at the gates, the German press praised Japan despite their role in eliminating the national team, with The Spiegel praising the “jokers of Japan” who “turned the game upside down”.
Thomas Muller, who has appeared in four World Cups with the national team, called Germany’s defeat an “absolute catastrophe”, adding that because of Japan’s role in eliminating Germany, he was struck by “a feeling of helplessness”.
Muller also hinted that his long international career may now have come to an end. “If that was my last game for Germany, it was a huge pleasure, thank you very much,” she said.
Flick wants to keep his job
Germany coach Hansi Flick, meanwhile, has called for an overhaul of his country’s youth system and called for a return to the “basics” of player production.
Germany has long been regarded as having one of the most advanced player development systems in world football, but that reputation is now in jeopardy.
Flick’s future as head coach is in serious doubt, despite the former Bayern Munich manager only starting in August last year. After the game he said he wanted to stay at work.
“I think for the future of German football we have to do things differently with training,” said Flick after his side’s 4-2 win over Costa Rica, which wasn’t enough to send them through to the knockout stages direct because of Japan’s shock victory over Spain.
“For years we have been talking about new goalkeepers, new full-backs. What has always been good in German football is that we have been able to defend well. We need the basics.”
The only encouraging aspect of the German World Cup has been the brilliant performances of Jamal Musiala, the former England youth international who now stars for Bayern Munich.
“It’s a shame that a player like that can’t continue playing in this tournament,” said Flick. “Jamal was trained in England, not Germany.”