GERMANY: TIME FOR A CHANGE.
If you have been following National Team Football for the past couple of weeks, and by weeks I mean the last one year, you may have noticed certain things happening. For example, Germany winning the Confederations Cup in 2017 with their ‘B Team’ with minimal fuss.
Now, the record goes thus: The team that wins the Confederations Cup does not win the World Cup come the following year.
That in simple terms meant that since Germany won the Confederations Cup, B-Team or otherwise, they were not expected to win the World Cup. But many expected them to, including yours truly.
Also, since 2006, the World Cup winners did not get out of their groups by the time the group stages of the subsequent tournament ended. See Italy after winning the 2006 tournament, Spain in 2010. You could also add France to that list, winning in 1998 and getting knocked-out four years later. But things like that never happens to the German Machine. Oh, were we wrong!
What happened at the World Cup was absolutely shocking. Placed in a relatively easy group with Sweden, Mexico and South Korea, everyone was already looking forward to the knock-out phases for Germany. Leroy Sane surprisingly was left at home and it was Julien Brandt that took his place. In their first game, they lost 1-0 to Mexico and everyone (including yours truly) thought that this was just a blip in Joachim Low’s and Germany’s tournament defence. Then the second game against Sweden came and they won 2-1 thanks to a very late free-kick winner by Toni Kroos and everyone kept talking about ‘resilience’ and ‘spirit’ and the German machine. Germany seemed to have turned a corner. If they had turned a corner at that point, the corner was then blocked by a South Korean side who had nothing to play for after losing their first two games. Germany, being the machine that they are knew that they had to win to stand any chance of qualifying. They did not only ‘not win’, they did not score and lost 2-0. The Germans never get knocked out of competitions like that. The last time that happened in a World Cup was in 1938.
Most of the blame fell on Mesut Ozil, who was vilified for very poor performances by every member of the German National team. Some German legend even went as far as saying that Mesut Ozil had stopped playing for Germany way before the World Cup began (two years actually). Mesut Ozil duly retired. Toni Kroos spoke about the Ozil situation, and recently about Leroy Sane. Things are still the same in Germany. Recently, they played France and were held to a draw despite playing poorly. Over the weekend, they played against the Dutch who has not played in the past two tournaments (the World Cup and the Euros) and are just in a rebuilding process themselves. The Germans duly lost 3-0.
Who is to blame this time? A lot of players have underperformed over the years and it seems that the German talent pool is drying up. Apart from the goalkeeping department, there is not a lot of strong competition in other areas. Germany has not had a very good striker since Miroslav Klose retires. Timo Werner keeps getting moved out wide and Sandro Wagner has retired (his goal-scoring record stands at five goals in eight games).
Is Joachim Low to take most of the blame? The truth is that the coach gets the plaudits when the team does well and should also get the stick when things are turning bad. The Germans are running out of whom to point their fingers to. Could Joachim Low be next?
Posted by: Abiodun Motunrayo
Email: [email protected]