After the opening defeat against Japan, only a win will help the German national team to advance to the round of 16. In his World Cup column, world and European champion Andreas Möller analyzes the botched start of the World Cup.
Problem zone defensive: cardinal mistakes led to the defeat of the DFB-Elf against Japan.
Total shock! With all due respect to Japan – that must not happen to a German team. Especially not after a 1-0 lead, after a decent performance over 60 minutes and dominance against a disciplined and yet relatively harmless Japanese team for a long time, apart from two or three counterattacks.
Analyzed in a few minutes: Heart of the national team without “oxygen supply”
Anyone who was even reasonably interested in football analyzed the causes of the break in our game within a few minutes. The substitutions of Müller and Gündogan became a boomerang for Germany, the substitutions of the later scorers Doan and Asano together with tactical changes in midfield became a trump card for Japan. The heart of every team is a compact midfield. Gündogan and Kimmich stood for more than an hour. We withheld oxygen from this heart after an hour. But even then, you must never, ever lose such a game.
What’s with the general raising of hands? You have to finish the situation, there is still time for complaints afterwards.
Losing a duel as a personal insult
Our team lacked biliousness. At the front when exploiting good chances, at the back in the decisive duel situations, where we missed the “German virtues” that were praised in the past! That’s just not possible at a world championship, and certainly not at the first appearance. You see Tunisia and Morocco, whose players take every duel as an all-or-nothing situation. Those who feel a lost duel as a personal insult, get up and keep sprinting and fighting. In this respect we are too soft. And then there are these cardinal mistakes, when the first goal is conceded, the opponent is not aggressively placed and we cancel the offside for the second goal by the Japanese. Where was the vote? What’s with the general raising of hands? You have to finish the situation, there may still be time for complaints afterwards.
Something has to happen on defense
It’s all or nothing in the second group game against the Spaniards, who made everything clear after half an hour against outsiders Costa Rica when they started the tournament. We have to beat Spain. As difficult as this task is, it is not impossible. I do not presume to give Hansi Flick and his staff great advice. He is the closest to the team and will definitely give new impetus. Of course, you can’t overturn everything now. But in the defensive area, in the compactness, something has to happen. We haven’t only been talking about problems there since the game against Japan. However, the fact that we are as vulnerable as on Wednesday afternoon exceeded my imagination.
Fight and bite – otherwise there is a risk of farewell
My hopes before the game against Spain rest on the undisputed great quality in attack. Positioning ourselves with too many players on offense when we lost possession was another cardinal mistake against Japan, despite all the warnings. Fight, bite, don’t lose an inch is the motto against Spain, without these virtues we will have to say goodbye to the tournament.
Andreas Möller (55) played a total of 85 international matches, became world champion with the German national team in 1990 and European champion in 1996. In the Bundesliga he played 429 games for Frankfurt, Dortmund and Schalke, and he was also under contract with Juventus Turin. He was German champion twice with Dortmund, and his greatest international success at club level was winning the Champions League with BVB in 1997.