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Hansi Flick thanks supporters, laments “too respectful” display from Germany vs. Belgium

The team’s poor performances are starting to become a pressing issue.

Germany v Belgium - International Friendly Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Well, that didn’t look like a Germany team entirely ready to host the 2024 EURO. Having concluded their first international period since their flameout at the FIFA 2022 Men’s World Cup, Hansi Flick’s squad looked as adrift as they’ve ever been — at least for the better part of a half.

Thankfully, Germany turned it around on Belgium in the second to pull within striking distance before ultimately sinking by a score of 2-3. Still, they made it exciting to the very end, and one wonders what might have been had they started hot.

“We were too passive in the first half hour; too respectful. We didn’t put our opponents under pressure, and Belgium just outplayed us,” Flick lamented afterward (via “We changed things after that, and got a bit of stability. The team played with a lot of passion. After half an hour we started doing things better and started putting pressure on the opposition. You could see that Belgium were making more mistakes then. For us it’s important that we keep working on timing when we press.”

Indeed the difference in control between the two phases of the game was extraordinary. Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku hit the post and his side could have poured it on and gone three, even four goals up in the first 45’. By the time the dust settled, it was the Germans who had poured on the attack, with sixteen shots to the Belgians’ seven.

And if timing in pressing actions was part of the issue, well, perhaps it’s understandable. Flick’s squad selection this time was more experimental, including a lot of bubble players while leaving out veteran mainstays as Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller and Leroy Sané. Additionally, Chelsea FC’s Kai Havertz was among those who had to depart the camp after the first game against Peru due to illness.

In any event, a raucous crowd at Köln was left biting their fingernails (please don’t do that, it’s dirty!) up to the last second, when Joshua Kimmich’s back-to-back corners at the death failed to find an open header before the referee concluded proceedings.

“I’d like to praise the supporters tonight, who seemed to really feel that the team had tried to turn the result around and got behind us fantastically,” Flick concluded.

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