It’s been a week since Germany were eliminated at the hands of England in the Euros, and the time for retrospection is fully underway. One of the players most devastated by the game at Wembley was Bayern Munich’s own Thomas Muller, who missed a critical chance when the game was still poised at 1-0. The importance of the miss cannot be understated, as a goal at that junction could have changed the entire complexion of the game.
Muller has taken his fair share of heat from the fans over his role in Germany’s elimination, even apologizing to those who relied on him to finish those crucial chances. However, he has his own view on the reasons for Germany’s elimination, as conveyed below:
In seinem Newsletter kritisiert @esmuellert_ die Taktik von #Löw bei der #EURO2020: "Mit unserer Bestrebung, durch eine eher abwartende, kompakte Defensivstrategie ohne Gegentor zu bleiben, sind wir de facto gescheitert." Für Müller ist #GER "verdient ausgeschieden". #FCBayern— Maximilian Koch (@Koch_AZ) July 5, 2021
In his newsletter Thomas Muller criticizes the tactics of Joachim Löw at EURO2020: “With our efforts to remain without conceding a goal through a rather wait-and-see, compact defensive strategy, we have de facto failed.” For Müller, Germany “deserved to be eliminated.”
Of course, it feels a bit hollow to hear this from Muller after the chance he missed. However, he’s hardly the first person to criticize Germany’s tactical direction. Even before the England game, there were plenty of doubts over the setup.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had expressed his misgivings over Low’s back-three system some time ago, and he was hardly the first person to do so. Both the media and the fans have been skeptical of Germany’s tactics under Low for several years now — the elimination at the Euros was hardly predicated on a single chance. It was simply the final result of a perennially underperforming system, that produced only one good performance (Portugal) in the last two years.
By directly criticizing his former coach, however, Muller opens himself up to even more backlash. There are still plenty of people who will blame him for the loss to England, even if Germany were unconvincing in the tournament.
If Muller really wants to vindicate his view, he’ll need to stay on and work with Hansi Flick, who will undoubtedly institute the kind of aggressive setup the Bayern Munich man is looking for. The player himself clearly knows it, as shown by his next quote:
“The troupe I came across had the quality, the will, and the work ethic to build on old successes again,” says Muller.
He now wants to “convert the disappointment into positive work energy.”
If Muller can stick around and perform at next year’s World Cup, then all will be forgiven.