Disabled German Machines Full of Regrets After Back-to-Back Failures

Just like Belgium, Germany’s die Mannschaft arrived in Qatar as one of the favourites to win this first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East. Why not? The Germans were believed to have overcome their scandalous crashing out of the last edition in Russia four years ago at the group stage. They went to Russia as defending champions from Brazil but sadly failed to fly from the group stage into the knock out second round.

But after three matches here: losing their first to Japan 1-2; Draw 1-1 with Spain and manage to win 4-2 against Costa Rica, it was obvious that something had gone terribly wrong with Hansi Flicks men. As it was in Russia four years ago, the German Machines bowed out in shame and left the Al Bayt Stadium here with sadness and disbelief etched on their faces. Germany ended up third in the group behind the Spanish on goal difference, bursting their World Cup bubble and leaving them to pack their bags and head to the airport.

Expectedly, Thomas Muller – one of the surviving players who had gone through it all already back in 2018 – struggled to voice the emptiness that the squad was feeling this time around, describing it as “a bit like drifting out of consciousness. There is such a sense of disappointment – we felt really good after the Spain match. We thought that we’d got into some form at the tournament and were finally in a position to make real progress, but now here we are heading home.”

“We weren’t expecting that result from the Spain match, but at the end of the day, we had enough chances against Japan and Spain to have won those two games,” said Kai Havertz. “We deserve to be going out, though. With the quality we’ve got, we shouldn’t be losing to Japan.”

Havertz’s teammates certainly agreed with that sentiment. “We just weren’t on the ball in that first match, and when you’ve only got three games, you can’t afford for that to happen,” said Niclas Fullkrug, who found the back of the net again versus Costa Rica. “As a player though, I feel that we came together well as a team but perhaps we weren’t 100 per cent ready.”

“There wasn’t much talk in the dressing room. Deathly silence,” said Jonas Hofmann, giving an insight into the mood of the camp after the match. “The result of the Spain – Japan match doesn’t really matter, because we should have won against Japan and even beaten the Spanish at the end of the day. So you have to say that we only have ourselves to blame.”

When asked about his future as Germany coach, Hansi Flick had this to say to broadcaster ARD: “We weren’t anywhere near efficient enough in this tournament, and that’s why we’ve gone out. We’re hugely disappointed and we need to process that before we do anything else. I believe in my coaching staff and I’ve put in some good work, but it just wasn’t enough at the end of the day.”

With three early exits in a row, the concept of Germany as a team that rises to the occasion has now been put to bed well and truly. Two World Cup failures and the similar crashing at the UEFA EURO 2020 last year, means questions are now being asked on whether Flick should continue on the job.

With the next Euro however less two years away and on home soil – hopefully by then, will the die Mannschaft have gone back to basics and rediscovered what made them so hard to beat on the biggest stages previously? Only time will tell.

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