It wasn’t exactly a swan song for Joachim Low as Germany crashed out of the European Championships by virtue of a 2-0 loss to England at Wembley thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. The odds were always going to be in England’s favor playing in front of 45,000 fans at Wembley, predominantly comprised of England fans, but Germany went out swinging in what was Low’s final competitive match in charge of Die Mannschaft before Hansi Flick takes over for him.
For larger portions, especially in the first half, Germany created their chances and had England on their heels. Timo Werner had a decent chance in the first half, and Kai Havertz forced an excellent save from Jordan Pickford midway through the second half. In moments, the intensity was there from Germany, and speaking after the match, Low rued his side not making the most of the chances that they created (Tz). “It’s a big disappointment for all of us, the belief in the team was absolutely there. Unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances — now we’re out. We’ve worked hard the last four weeks, the guys have pulled along well,” he explained.
Gareth Southgate’s decision to introduce Jack Grealish for Bukayo Saka in the 69th minute proved to be a game changer and the Aston Villa skipper was involved in the buildup for Sterling’s goal in the 75th minute. Shortly after the deadlock was broken, Thomas Muller missed a 1v1 chance, capitalizing on a sloppy giveaway from Sterling and drifting beyond John Stones and Harry Maguire. He pulled his shot wide of the far post. For Low, that was a defining moment of the match that really could’ve changed the complexion; “Normally, Thomas makes that. It’s difficult to talk about everything immediately after the game. At the moment, all the players are in a dead silence. Everyone is extremely disappointed.”
As was the case for the 2-2 draw against Hungary, and for parts of the group stage opener vs. France, Low felt that his side lacked the proper creativity in attack. Southgate had made the decision to start Stones, Maguire, Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw, and Kieran Trippier in what was a back five, but at times, a back three with two wingers. Low felt that his side found that deeper block hard to break down. “We lacked a bit of penetrating power up front. We still had two great chances. We are very disappointed. [Serge] Gnabry and [Leroy] Sané didn’t show what they can do. They are actually good players,” he said.
Low brought on Jamal Musiala in the 92nd minute, so there wasn’t much that the 18-year old could do to try and make a meaningful impact like he did in the draw against Hungary. Low insisted that the decision to wait so long to bring him on was because his fitness isn’t exactly where people think it might be based on how positive he was against Hungary, helping create Leon Goretzka’s all important goal; “He’s not as far along as some people think after one game, either. We lacked cleverness, the team still needs to grow up. We have developed a good team spirit. The stamina was missing.”