Four years of patience, connecting the dots of the Confederations Cup and the Euro Cup just to believe that Germany is capable of defending the title and holding close to the heart the faith that Joachim Low never fails to impress – all of that have finally come crashing down and the fans are left with nothing but desolation. The match against Mexico was a perfect demonstration of Germany’s flaws that, if neglected, would cost them the title. Unfortunately, the lack of focus on the imperfections really did cost them the title.
Facing the press after an ignominious group stage elimination from the World Cup is tough for any player. However, it is necessary that they clear the air between them and the fans — by apologizing and promising a comeback. Mats Hummels and Manuel Neuer pulled themselves together and talked about their humiliating World Cup campaign.
When asked about how he rates Germany’s performance in the tournament, Neuer stated that Germany’s elimination is no surprise and that they didn’t deserve to get through to the knockouts. He remarked that anyone would have liked to face Germany in the second round if they had gone through: (DFB.de)
Of course, we still have to analyze it quietly. But you certainly can say that we simply didn’t deserve it. In none of our three games did you see that there was really a German team on the field that one had to respect. When you make it 2-1 in the 95th minute against Sweden and lose the other two games and also fail to create any clear chances on goal, don’t put the opponent under pressure, then you haven’t deserved to play in the knockout round. Everyone would have been happy to play against us in the round of 16. How are we supposed to threaten an opponent, when we don’t deliver a good performance?
The captain was also asked about his retirement to which he replied that he is currently not thinking about stopping.
Here’s what Neuer had to say about the second goal from South Korea, which fell in an empty net after he had pressed up the pitch to help Germany’s offense:
I mean, it’s the 96th minute, we’re down 0-1. We still believed. I actually wanted to bring in the cross; I have to own up to the mistake.
DFB president Reinhard Grindel apologized to the fans and promised that he and the DFB would analyze Germany’s performance at the World Cup and draw their conclusions, but remained firm in his belief in Joachim Löw (DFB.de):
We will have to account for it and draw the consequences. Before this tournament, we knew full well that there would be a transition after the World Cup regardless of the outcome. We deliberated on the board who the most suitable candidate is for that. The World Cup 2014 was less decisive; instead, it was the Confederations Cup, where we played with a fantastic young group, and for that reason the decision was made in favor of Joachim Löw, which is why we extended his contract until 2022 before the World Cup. I continue to hold this opinion. I have not heard from any member of the board that they see things differently now.
Just like everyone else, Mats Hummels was extremely disappointed about the unanticipated turnouts that saw the reigning champions go out of the World Cup (Kicker.de):
It’s hard to put it into words. We still believed in it to the very end today. But we just didn’t put the ball in the net. Not one of us. I think we had enough chances. I myself in the 86th, 87th minute. One that I have to make. That broke our neck today. We didn’t capitalize on our goal chances. The way the goal against us happened is a bit symptomatic.
After the match against Mexico, Hummels had claimed that the team did not heed his solution to the problems that made Germany lose their opening match of the tournament. Later last night, he said that the team had looked into the issues and improved the things that he mentioned before the game against Sweden:
Absolutely, yes, yes. We improved the things that I addressed. That was much, much better against Sweden. These subjects — cover, which players have to provide cover, when the ball is somewhere. That was much better and we had better control of the ball.
When asked about the relapse in their match against South Korea, Hummels said that the team became incredibly hectic after 65th minute and acknowledged his own failure to score the decisive goal:
We started to become incredibly hectic in the 65th minute. We left our positions, became wild, then made bad passes, ran into counter-attacks that we — I hope I can say that — still defended very well. We somehow lost our structure. Sure, it’s pointless now, but if I had headed the ball in in the 86th minute, we’d be talking about how awesome it is that we’ve advanced; now we’re talking about something else. A bitter, bitter evening for us and all German soccer fans.
And finally, Joachim Löw himself admitted that Germany did not deserve to go any further in Russia. He congratulated Sweden and Mexico for qualifying to the knockouts and said that it is hard to say why Germany did not manage to score a goal or take the lead in any of the three matches:
Massive disappointment, deadly silence prevails right now, of course. Hardly anyone is able to say anything right now. We have to accept it now. Congratulations to the Swedes and Mexicans, who beat us. We didn’t manage to score a goal, to take the lead. That was the case through the whole tournament. It’s hard to say what the reason was. We tried everything during preparations, we hardly saw the playing highlights that we usually have, hardly made any good moves forward. We were rightly knocked out of this group.
Löw told the DFB that it is incredibly hard to repeat success and said that the team lost everything that they have built up in recent years:
We all lost today, all German soccer, everything that we built up over the past few years. Since 2006, we had been at least in the semifinals. We can only apologize for that. I’m now the first person to question himself and who has to analyze what things went wrong. I have to sleep a night on it; at the moment I’m totally frustrated.
Reinhard Grindel stated (Kicker) that he and Jogi Löw would decide about his future with Germany in the coming days.
Dear fans, we feel just as disappointed as you. The World Cup only comes around every four years and we expected so much more from us. We're sorry for not playing like world champions, and as painful as it is, we deserve to be out...— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 28, 2018
"We let ourselves down" - #DieMannschaft captain @Manuel_Neuer reacts to Germany's #WorldCup exit https://t.co/vSCZfTmvEp pic.twitter.com/ozvXMhuJcM— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 28, 2018
DFB President Reinhard Grindel to SPORTBILD: "I talked to Jogi Löw last night. We left it as it is now so that in the next few days we will discuss what happens next." #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/WYkUbN3S9I— Home Bayern (@HomeBayern___) June 28, 2018
Jerome Boateng promised a comeback after analyzing what went wrong vis Twitter:
#WM2018 @DFB_Team pic.twitter.com/1Tf6S2JMyn— Jerome Boateng (@JB17Official) June 28, 2018