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What went wrong?
So many things.
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A strange squad selection from Joachim Low, who ignored the pleas to call up PFA Young Player of the Season, Leroy Sane. Furthermore, the top four German Bundesliga scorers - Nils Petersen, Mark Uth, Niclas Fullkrug and Kevin Volland - plus Sandro Wagner were also left at home. Die Mannschaft only scored one goal from open play in 270 minutes against Mexico, Sweden and Republic of Korea. Come on.
Basically, Low’s inability to pick the right players from a pool who had won the 2014 World Cup, the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2017 Under-21 European Championship cost him and the country.
The 58-year-old showed too much loyalty to out-of-form players like Julian Draxler, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil, and the whole Bayern Munich contingent - including Thomas Muller - who have been dreadful since their Champions League defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in May - they even lost the DFB-Pokal final to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Low's inability to build a stable system was also to blame; his preferred 4-2-3-1 with Toni Kroos and Khedira was a failure due to a lack of a holding defensive midfielder - particularly after Sebastian Rudy was injured against Sweden.
Who is to blame?
Again, a number of things but Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan posing with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, set the tone and caused plenty of havoc going into the tournament.
There was a lot of noise in the media with “experts” such as Lothar Matthaus, Michael Ballack, and Mario Basler picking the squad apart after every match, putting unnecessary pressure on the players.
Blame can also be attributed to the lamentable performances from Bayern players, especially Muller, simply because excellent Bayern players have always been the backbone of a good national side and this team certainly lacked that.
However, the lion’s share of the blame definitely has to stay with Low because of his controversial choices as coach.
What needs to be fixed?
Squad selection HAS to be better. A World Cup squad has to consist of players who can prove they are still capable of performing at that level.
Do not be surprised by a raft of retirements after the shock exit. Sami Khedira (31) is almost certain to hang up his international boots and Mario Gomez (32) could be joining him.
There could potentially be a shock retirement from one of the other experienced squad members that had a poor tournament. Manuel Neuer (31), Ozil (29), Mats Hummels (29), Jerome Boateng (29) or Muller (28) all underperformed and that could spell the end of their international careers.
Finally, Low has to reinvent his tactics. He could look into hiring new assistant coaches as Thomas Schneider and Marcus Sorg didn’t seem to have a good impact after Hansi Flick left.
Was the squad picked the correct one? Should Leroy Sane have been picked?
As mentioned, when you deliver the worst World Cup campaign since 1938, you totally messed up the selection.
Yes, Sane definitely should have been in the squad - but Low could also have let Julian Brandt loose. He subbed him on far too late when he could’ve given him a chance to start over one of the disappointing starters.
Should Joachim Low have picked a younger squad? Was the core tired? Over-confident?
No, not a younger squad. But 2-3 players – like Sane, Wagner or maybe even Uth – could have made a difference.
Yes, you can say that the core was tired and, as Low said so after the post match, slightly arrogant coming into the World Cup as champions.
They all believed the myth of the “Turniermannschaft” (tournament team), which will magically get better and perform well, when the World Cup starts. Instead, the side should have worked harder on aspects that already went alarmingly wrong in friendlies against Austria (1-2) and Saudi Arabia (2-1).
Will Joachim Low be sacked?
No. He just signed a new contract before the World Cup untill 2022.
Team manager Oliver Bierhoff and DFB president Reinhard Grindel said after the match today that they want to continue with Low.
However, the 58-year-old refused to commit his future to the national side and said he will have a meeting with Bierhoff and Grindel on Thursday – so it is possible that he could resign later this week.
Does Germany need another re-think? Has the German model been surpassed?
Yes and no. There's about 40 different footballers who could have been picked for this World Cup squad.
Players like Brandt, Timo Werner, Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Draxler, Toni Rudiger, Marc Andre ter Stegen and – yes – Sane are still under 25 and could be the backbone for the European Championships in 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.
Germany are no longer on top of the world as they may have thought about themselves after the Bayern-BVB Champions League final in 2013 and winning the World Cup 2014.
Bundesliga clubs - excluding Bayern - have failed to make an impact in European cup competitions, and Bayern have failed to reach a Champions League final for five years in a row now.
You can fairly say that the ‘German model’ of “Nachwuchsleistungszentren” (youth team centres) may cast aside too many good individual players and only raise team players who obey tactics. There is an alarming lack of good classical no.9 strikers (which is why Mario Gomez still makes the national team).
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