Back to basics for Germany
AL KHOR, Qatar – Back-to-back early exits at the World Cup have Germany coach Hansi Flick wanting to go back to basics.
The four-time champions were again eliminated from the group stage, four years after their embarrassing performance as defending champions in Russia.
Something has to change, Flick said after a 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday that was still not enough to secure a place in the round of 16.
“I think for the future of German football we have to do things differently in training,” said Flick, who took over as coach after last year’s European Championship. “For years we talked about new goalkeepers and wingbacks, but Germany were always able to defend well. We need the basics.
“For the future, for the next 10 years, it is very important to focus on the new generation of players.”
It was just eight years ago that Germany won their fourth World Cup title, beating an Argentina side led by Lionel Messi in his prime in the final at the Maracana Stadium. With that victory, Germany became the only European team to win a World Cup in either North or South America.
In Qatar, it was an opening loss to Japan that laid the foundation for the disappointing finish this time. Germany were beaten, 2-1, in that match last week, and followed it up with a 1-1 draw against Spain.
It gave the Germans a chance in their final game at Al Bayt Stadium, and for a few minutes during the simultaneous final group games on Thursday, it was enough. At half-time, for example, Germany beat Costa Rica and Japan lost to Spain – results that would have put the Germans into the round of 16.
It was Japan’s 2-1 victory over the Spaniards that essentially cost the Germans the chance to play at least one more game in Qatar.
Flick cited Spain as an example for his country to follow.
“Spain is very good in defence,” he said, although the 2010 World Cup finalists lost to Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. “It focuses on training young players. They know the tactics well.”
It all started so well for Germany on Thursday with Serge Gnabry scoring a header in the 10th minute and Spain taking an early lead against Japan.
Both games were turned on their heads in the second half.
Yeltsin Tejeda equalized in the 58th minute and Juan Vargas moved in again in the 70th, leading Costa Rica to 2-1 and suddenly promotion was the goal.
“There were a lot of individual mistakes, and these are things that make me very angry,” Flick said.
But Germany substitute Kai Havertz made it 2-2 in the 73rd minute and then restored Germany’s lead in the 85th. Another substitute, Niclas Füllkrug, added the fourth.
Costa Rica had lost the opening match against Spain, 7-0. The team showed so much better and beat Japan, 1-0.
“We are not what we saw in our first game,” said Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez. “We had to go back to what made us qualify for the World Cup.” AP
Image credit: AP