Germany national team coach Hansi Flick did not mince words after his side unceremoniously exited the FIFA 2022 Men’s World Cup at the group stage.
“We need to get better at player development,” Flick said after Germany’s 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday (via @iMiaSanMia). “We’ve been crying out for number 9s and strong full-backs for years. Defending has distinguished German football for years. We need to get back to the basics.”
The basics were almost Germany’s undoing against Costa Rica. An unsteady game played out with uncanny similarity to their opener against Japan — a narrow 1-0 lead shepherded into half-time, followed by a rapid collapse in the second half. Chelsea FC’s Kai Havertz helped spur the fight-back and as it was, the Germans were only knocked out thanks to Spain’s collapse against Japan.
Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich started the game at right-back but shifted to his preferred midfield position later on. Thomas Müller put in a shift at striker before giving way to Niclas Füllkrug and Kai Havertz up top. Leipzig’s David Raum started all three games at left-back. All are fine players, but they reveal the compromises Flick felt forced to make in order to get his preferred product on the field.
Perhaps that’s why Flick took a chance on Borussia Dortmund youngster Youssoufa Moukoko. The seventeen-year-old scarcely had any match time in the tournament, but has long been touted as Germany’s — perhaps singular — hope for the future at the nine.
Clearly, the DFB need to re-evaluate their current trajectory, and everyone knows it. How quickly they can get back on track, though? That’s anybody’s guess.
And in case you haven’t listened to it yet, here’s a special edition postgame + weekend warm up podcast to get you ready for the weekend! We look at Germany’s shortcomings, Hansi Flick’s approach, Japan’s wonderful run...and close out with some classical music talk! Listen below or on Spotify.
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