Germany and Chelsea FC attacker Kai Havertz was one of former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick’s players who came under fire for a lackluster performance in his squad’s 2-1 defeat to Japan earlier this week.
Of course Die Mannschaft was in the world’s focus both on and off of the pitch.
Germany was at the forefront of the protests and anger regarding FIFA’s decision to ban the “OneLove” armbands and made a pregame statement by covering their mouths in the starting XI pic before the match.
When the results did not favor the Germans, the critics came flying out of the woodwork — and Havertz heard them.
“We made our point very clear in the last few days and to be honest it’s hard to speak again about it. Everyone knows our point of view, so our focus is now 100% on football,” said Havertz (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
In an odd twist, Germany came under fire from Real Madrid and Belgium player Eden Hazard as well. Hazard was asked about Germany’s pregame protest and FIFA’s banning of the “OneLove” armband.
“Yeah, but then they lost the game. They would’ve been better off not doing it and winning. We’re here to play football, I’m not here to send a political message, there are people better placed for that. We want to focus on football,” said Hazard. “I’m not comfortable talking about it because I’m here to play football. We were banned from wearing (the armband) — I didn’t want to start the match with a yellow card, it would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament.”
Hazard’s thoughts aside, Havertz said the Germans held a team meeting after losing to Japan and hit each other with some truth bombs.
“It was time to talk to each other and tell each other the truth. After the meeting, everyone knew what they have to do differently. We all left the room with the feeling that we would win the game on Sunday,” said Havertz.
Will the difference in approach help the Germans pull out a win?
Want some thoughts on the Germany-Spain matchup? Check out our Weekend Warm-up Podcast:
Interested in a more in-depth (and miserable) review of the Japan game and what went wrong? Then why not check out our postgame podcast? We talk about Flick’s selections, underperforming players, tactical issues, and more! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support!