Germany and the end of the World Cup: the end of a great football nation
AIn the end, even someone knew how Thomas Müller, who has something to say about almost everything and everyone, didn’t go any further and simply broke off the question and answer session. It was well after one o’clock local time in al-Khor in Qatar when the German national soccer player was supposed to explain why it hadn’t worked out again with a successful tournament. Since reaching the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championship, the German Football Association (DFB) has had one setback after another: the end after the 2018 World Cup preliminary round, in the 2021 European Championship round of 16 and now again after the World Cup preliminary round.
There have been botched tournaments by the “tournament team” before. But the current situation can hardly be compared with the isolated failure at the decisive moment. The proclaimed goal of the World Cup title in Qatar seems absurd after being eliminated again after just three games. But it is the new reality of German football. The defeat at the start was generally seen as the reason for the early failure. “We blew it against Japan,” said the captain Manuel Neuer. The points in the 1-1 win against Spain and on Thursday at 4-2 against Costa Rica didn’t help.
The early bye-bye at the al-Bayt stadium in the desert city north of Doha shocked the players responsible for it, visibly and audibly, not just Müller, who failed to find reasons for the German debacle knew just as little as before from the field. It is uncertain whether he will ever play for the national team again. Since the 2010 World Cup, Müller has been a face of success. But the bitter truth is that after winning the 2014 World Cup, things went downhill for him too. It’s now eight years since the triumph in Rio de Janeiro…
“We are all frustrated”
Müller, 33, said he wanted to consult with his wife, including the national coach. A Manuel Neuer is three years older, he became clearer when asked if that was it for him with the time in the country’s first selection. He could rule out a resignation, instead he wanted to continue “as far as I’m invited and show my performance”. It was with the captain Qatar not perfect either. After that he was at a loss. “We’re all frustrated. It’s hard for us to process and we will certainly need to understand what happened here. That is clear.”
Like many others, Neuer blamed the failure on the start. “The anger about the first group game outweighs it. We blew it in the second half against Japan. We played a decent game against Spain,” he said after the 1-1 draw last Sunday. “And today we have done our duty. We have made it our goal to win against Costa Rica by at least two goals,” said Neuer, who conceded five goals in three games. “Not everyone expected that this result would not be enough in the end.”
But the mathematicians on the team had already miscalculated. The victory with a two-goal lead, which is after the goals of Serge Gnabry (10th minute), Kai Havertz (73rd and 85th) and Niclas Füllkrug (89th) with goals conceded by Yeltsin Tejeda (58th) and a scene that was ultimately rated as a Neuer own goal (70th), was not sufficient because the variables Japan and Spain were not sufficiently taken into account. The fact that the Asians turned the parallel game was also due to the Germans and the complicated constellation. In the end, Spain had no need of its own.