German Media And Pundits React To Germany Group Stage Elimination

If Germany thought the reaction to their elimination at the 2018 World Cup in Russia was bad, wait until they see the headlines back home this time.

Despite their 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday, Hansi Flick’s side were eliminated in the group stages for the second successive World Cup as Japan progressed on goal difference following their 2-1 victory against Spain.

For the four-time winners, whose most recent triumph was in Brazil only eight years ago, it is a steep decline.

The German press, former players and pundits have had their say on the nation’s premature World Cup exit – and the future of manager Flick with Germany set to host Euro 2024.

‘The end of a great football nation’

The BBC’s Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill says “frustration and fury best sum up the mood in Germany this morning” with the “sense of humiliation widespread”.

German newspaper Bild has not held back in their criticism of the German’s performance, labelling the side a “soccer dwarf.”

They go on to say nobody in the Germany camp – from the players to the coaching staff – is world class and have marked 1 December as “the end of a once great and proud soccer nation”.

Bild front page

Die Welt, meanwhile, says German football has hit “rock bottom” and “must stop lying to itself”, citing the need for “fundamental change” to improve results.

Suddeutsche Zeitung has led with the headline “the result that fits the big mess”, while Faz says the return to the top of world football is “just an illusion for Germany”.

Elsewhere, says “only a 9-2” result would have helped a Germany side who have “failed again”, and Der Spiegel has started an inquest into the reasons behind the nation’s poor performance, labelling the people behind it as “stubborn”.

Flick and Schweinsteiger clash

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Schweinsteiger was a World Cup-winner with Germany in 2014.

The criticism of Germany from former players and pundits started minutes after the final whistle blew in Al Khor to confirm their exit.

Former captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who played 121 times for Germany, said the blame lies with the players.

“Hansi [Flick] didn’t do that much wrong,” he told German broadcaster Ard.

“I’m really disappointed and shocked at how it went. The appearance of the national team is not enough, that’s not enough.

“We invited the opponent. The fundamental problem is that we often invite the opponent.”

Flick, 57, vehemently disagreed with Schweinsteiger, calling his analysis “absolute nonsense”.

“There are so many reasons [for Germany’s exit]), but I am not looking to find excuses,” he added.

“We did not have a lot of time to train, but it is not down to that. We fulfilled our duty today and went off the pitch with a victory, but the result could have been better.”

What about Flick’s future?

Ex-Germany midfielder Sami Khedira was critical of Flick, telling Ard the manager “got bogged down a bit with the line-up” by playing Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich at right-back instead of central midfield.

However, he did back Flick to stay on as Germany manager.

“Kimmich wants to be in the middle and Leon Goretzka is not a connection player – Flick gambled a bit on that,” he said.

“But he [Flick] has already proven [his credentials] at Bayern.

“He’s very clear, has a great team and a good game idea. He’s strict, but at the same time a people catcher. I’d like Hansi to stay.”

German Football Association president Bernd Neuendorf says a meeting will be held next week with Flick and technical director Oliver Bierhoff to identify the reasons behind Germany’s World Cup failure, while looking ahead to Euro 2024.

“You can imagine that today there is deep disappointment,” said Neuendorf.

“This elimination is extremely painful. But we have to look ahead and so we will lead a process on how to deal with this.

“I am a strong supporter of clear processes and expect to hold these talks with respect and in private. We are taking the first step before the second step.”

“It’s already a hurricane out there”

Germany fans following their World Cup exit
Germany had progressed from the group stages of the World Cup 16 successive times before the tournament in 2018.

Former Germany striker and BBC pundit Jurgen Klinsmann has likened the reaction in Germany to that of the English press when England fail at major tournaments.

“The next couple of days will be very, very harsh and difficult because it’s pretty much the third disappointment in a row,” he said.

“You can imagine if England leave in the group stage, what the media will do in England. It’s similar to this in Germany. It’s going to be a hurricane – already is.”

Klinsmann, who was a World Cup-winner with Germany in 1990, says their failure to convert chances played a big part in their World Cup exit.

“That is definitely an on the pitch issue, that they didn’t utilise the chances against Japan, they should have got the second goal far before Japan got back in the game. They’ve had a strong performance with Spain,” he said.

Despite the side’s disappointing performance in Qatar, Klinsmann adds there is hope for the future – especially in 19-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder Jamal Musiala.

“I think there’s a lot of talent in that squad and they haven’t found their high years yet,” he said.

“We have one wonder child, there’s no doubt about it, in terms of performances in Musiala – he is an exceptional, exceptional player.

“There is a lot of talent, they can build things fairly quickly towards the Euros.”

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