Germany blames World Cup loss on “too much drama”

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By Creative Media News

The outcome was unexpected, but the suffering was familiar. As Germany absorbed Wednesday’s shocking 2-1 loss to Japan, many fans and commentators were reminded of the country’s World Cup opening match four years ago, when the defending champions lost to Mexico. As he exited the stadium, a fan remarked to ARD, “It looks a lot like Russia reloaded.”

There were, as there were then, people who believed that off-field activities hurt the German players. In 2018, the issue surrounded two Turkish-born internationals, Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gündogan, who posed for a photo with Turkey’s authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before the competition.

This time, the controversy was Fifa’s threat to censure the OneLove captain’s armband, which the German football association backed down on, but which its players remarked on by covering their mouths in the team photo before kickoff.

Germany blames world cup loss on "too much drama"
Germany blames world cup loss on "too much drama"

“There was too much drama in the build-up, and there were too many problems that were more important than football,” the opinionated record international Lothar Matthaus told the tabloid Bild. “Such an occurrence disrupts your focus, it distracts you, and as a result, you may lack the vital five to ten percent.”

The sobering outcome was applauded by those columnists who believed the World Cup debate to be dominated by moralizing postures. “The German loss against an ordinary opponent seemed like a cold shower for the German arrogance that has seeped from every pore of our media in recent weeks,” commented Die Welt, a conservative newspaper.

“You go… we go…” read the headline on the front page of the Berlin tabloid BZ, which featured a picture of players covering their mouths and another of fans covering their eyes.

Former international Thomas Hitzlsperger was skeptical on German television. He stated that blaming disputes off the field was “too easy.” “They [the players] did not get into the game because they played too well in the first hour.”

The majority of the sports-related criticism was directed at Germany’s coach, Hansi Flick, whose substitutions – or lack thereof – perplexed several commentators. Flick has won three of his last ten matches as Germany’s head coach.

“Flick replaced the previously brilliant Ilkay Gündogan with the young brilliance Jamal Musiala,” reported Der Spiegel. “And in an instant, the flow, the purpose, and the confidence were gone. It’s simple to suggest that the coach caused his loss, but it’s accurate in this instance.

If there was cautious optimism about this German team’s future, it was because Flick’s Bayern Munich squad demonstrated two years ago that it could defeat Europe’s best to win the Champions League.

Some critics were even more perplexed by the manager’s starting lineup, which featured the relatively inexperienced Nico Schlotterbeck at central defense and put Bayern’s midfield engine Leon Goretzka on the bench.

Die Zeit was reminded of Germany’s 2006 World Cup team, which featured “a mixture of potential future stars and B-team.” “Meanwhile, Champions League champions sat on the bench,” stated the broadsheet, which questioned why Flick reshuffled his assault but maintained a defense that had begun to appear shaky in the first half. “You may refer to that as experimental. Or just haphazard.”

Some believed that Germany’s lack of answers on the field mirrored their lackluster political gestures off the field. “The Germans could have set a signal, but they would have had to take a risk,” opined Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which was unconvinced by the team’s pre-match statement. “Its helpless gesture just demonstrates that they remain silent when it truly matters.

The newspaper noted sarcastically, “Their idea that they had returned to world-class status was the Germans’ other self-deception.”

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