Nobody saw this one coming - Germany’s early exit from the 2018 World Cup. But maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. In addition to the poor stats it recorded at the tournament, which you will find in the infographic below created by bettingsites.me.uk, the team lost 1-0 to Brazil and 2-1 to Austria in the friendly matches just before the start of the World Cup.
We could’ve also taken into consideration the curse of the reigning champions since most defending champions play miserably in succeeding tournaments and are usually knocked out early. In fact, only Brazil has ever managed to beat this curse in 1962 when it retained the trophy.
Nevertheless, most pundits went on to put Germany amongst the favorites to win the World Cup, alongside Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, and Belgium. Then came the first game.
Mexico beat them by 1-0 and much as Germany managed to win the second game against Sweden 2-1, its performance was unconvincing. But still, no one expected the team to get booted out of the Cup by South Korea in a shocking 2-0 loss. Many people were left wondering what had exactly gone wrong with the football giants.
And there were quite a number of things if you’re to think about it. The German team ignored the writings on the wall after it drew with England, France, and Spain and lost the other two international friendlies just before the start of the World Cup.
Were Joachim Löw’s Decisions Questionable?
The pre-championship friendlies should have been enough to warrant a change in the squad, but Joachim Löw remained confident that the team would pick up at the start of the tournament.
He left out the youngsters that impressed at the U21 Euro in favor of the tried and tested players like Sami Khedira, Jérôme Boateng, Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos, and Mats Hummels, who ended being mere shadows of their former selves.
The biggest surprise, though, was him leaving out from the squad Leroy Sané who had an impressive season at Manchester City and would have helped out in the midfield where Khedira, Kroos, and Özil failed to stamp their authority.
Also, the blend of experience and the few young players he managed to bring to the tournament was ineffective as RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Bayern’s Leon Goretzka failed to link up well with teammates in order to score goals.
Moreover, the lack of natural leaders in the team was obvious. With Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose, Per Mertesacker, and Bastian Schweinsteiger gone, there was no one to stand up and rally the team to victory.
Some people have argued that it was the off-pitch drama just before the World Cup over Özil and İlkay Gündoğan taking a picture with the controversial Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan and calling him their president that might have caused divisions in the team. However, this feels like people are looking for a scapegoat for Germany’s dismal display in Russia 2018.
What Germany can do now is to start rebuilding the team around the talented young generation and hope for better in the future. However, this could take a while since its woes have carried on into the UEFA Nations League where the team has not yet won a game.
It drew 0-0 with France in the first game, got beaten by Netherlands 3-0, and on October 16, France beat it 2-1.