Sports

German football sinks deep in crisis after another shock World Cup exit


Soccer Football - Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup - Group E - Costa Rica v Germany - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - December 1, 2022 Manuel Neuer and Jamal Musiala of Germany

Football Soccer – Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup – Group E – Costa Rica v Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar – December 1, 2022 Manuel Neuer and Jamal Musiala of Germany REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX PICTURE OF THE DAY

AL KHOR, Qatar – German football plunged deeper into crisis on Thursday after the national team was knocked out of the World Cup in Qatar despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica in the final match of Group E.

1-1 draw with Spain after Shocking 1-2 loss to Japan gave Hansi Flick’s men some promotion hopes but even victory over Costa Rica was not enough to prevent another defeat of the tournament, with The Germans condemned for the second time in a row being eliminated from the first round of the World Cup.

The Germans have been one of the sport’s most dominant forces for nearly 70 years, having won four World Cup titles since 1954, trailing only Brazil with five.

But Flick’s team was overwhelmed, poorly prepared and below standard at the tournament, failing to display any of the traits that have made them a world-beating force for decades.

Winners in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014, Germany have also finished second four times while reaching the semi-finals five other times.

But those successes are now a distant memory, shrouded in the desert sands of Qatar, with Germany a mere shadow of its former power.

Their quality of never giving up, their determination and belief that any match, no matter the score, could be overturned, were gone.

Instead, it was the Japanese who took away a page from their book and went from a goal conceded in the opening game of the tournament to score two late in the game and win.

Four days later, the Spaniards should have done better than the 1-1 draw against which they dominated most of the game.

Football Soccer - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group E - Costa Rica v Germany - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - December 2, 2022 German players look depressed after the match as Germany are eliminated out of the World Cup

Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup – Group E – Costa Rica v Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar – December 2, 2022 The German players looked dejected after the match as Germany suffered a defeat. eliminated from the World Cup REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch TPX PICTURE OF THE DAY

Flick’s team is a patchwork of old and inexperienced players with their midfield picks being that of 29-year-old Niclas Fuellkrug, who made his debut days before the World Cup, and Youssoufa Moukoko, the youngest player. of the tournament.

Leaky defense has been a problem for months and Flick has not played the same line after twice in all of the games he has been in charge of at the World Cup.

The absence of a natural leader on the field follows the pattern of past greats Franz Beckenbauer, Lothar Matthaeus or Bastian Schweinsteiger – the only player who will be responsible for leading the team in difficult times. – was conspicuously absent.

Captain Manuel Neuer was unable to do it from his goal while midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Joshua Kimmich repeatedly shied away from the role.

Thomas Mueller, who was dropped from the national team a few years ago only to be recalled, is a far cry from the player who lifted the trophy in 2014 and hinted at his international retirement after his last game. surname.

The Germans started their holiday in Qatar embroiled in controversy with FIFA when the governing body threatened them with unspecified sanctions if they wore the captain’s armband to promote diversity in the host country. While they overcame that barrier by standing up by covering their mouths in a team photo before the first game, the story probably took their focus away from their commitments on the pitch.

Now they will return home to face the music.

Now sweeping reforms will be needed at both the team and federation levels if the country’s national sport is to survive the crisis that has ruined Germany’s reputation worldwide.

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