Sport

PLUMMET FROM GRACE

Germany sinks deeper into crisis after second shock World Cup group-stage exit

Germany sinks deeper into crisis after second shock World Cup group-stage exit
Jamal Musiala (centre) of Germany challenges for the ball with Celso Borges (left) and Kendall Waston (right) of Costa Rica during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on 1 December, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo: Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

The mighty have fallen! Despite victory over Costa Rica in their final Qatar 2022 World Cup group game, Germany were again sent home early from the global showpiece.

German soccer plummeted deeper into crisis on Thursday after the national team tumbled out of the World Cup in Qatar despite a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica in their final Group E match.

The 1-1 draw with Spain following their shock 2-1 opening defeat to Japan had handed Hansi Flick’s men some hope of advancing but even victory against Costa Rica was not enough to prevent yet another tournament debacle, with the Germans condemned to their second straight World Cup first round exit.

Germany substitute players

Armel Bella Kotchap (left to right), Kai Havertz, David Raum of Germany look dejected during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on 1 December 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo: Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

The Germans had been one of the most dominant forces of the sport for almost 70 years, having won four World Cup titles since 1954 and trailing only Brazil’s haul of five.

However, Flick’s team was overwhelmed, badly prepared and below standard at the tournament, failing to show any of the characteristics that had turned them into a world-beating force for so many decades.

Winners in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014, Germany had also finished as runners-up four times while reaching the semi-finals another five times.

But those successes are now a distant memory, clouded by the desert sand in Qatar, with Germany a shadow of their former powerful self. Gone are their never-give-up qualities, their determination and conviction that any game — no matter what the score — could be turned.

Instead, it was the Japanese who took a page out of their book and came from a goal down in their opening match of the tournament to score twice late on and snatch victory.

Germany vs Costa Rica

Leroy Sane (left) of Germany challenges for the ball with Oscar Duarte (right) of Costa Rica during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on 1 December, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo: Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)


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Four days later the Spaniards should have done better than a 1-1 draw against them having dominated for much of the game.

Flick’s team was a patchwork of ageing and inexperienced players — with their choice of centre forwards being that of either 29-year-old Niclas Fuellkrug, who earned his first cap days before the World Cup, and 18-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko — the youngest player in the tournament.

A leaking defence had been an issue for months and Flick did not play the same backline twice in all the matches he has been in charge of coming into the World Cup.

The absence of a natural leader on the pitch in the mould of past greats such as Franz Beckenbauer, Lothar Matthäus or Bastian Schweinsteiger — the one player who would take responsibility at tough times to guide the team — was glaringly absent.

Team captain Manuel Neuer cannot do it from his goal while midfielders İlkay Gündoğan and Joshua Kimmich consistently shied away from this role.

Thomas Mueller, who was dropped from the national team a few years ago only to be brought back, is far from the player who lifted the trophy in 2014 and hinted at an international retirement after their last group game.

Thomas Muller of Germany

A dejected Thomas Muller of Germany waves to the fans at full time after both teams are knocked out the Fifa World Cup in the group stages during their Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on 1 December, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

The Germans started off their stay in Qatar by being drawn into a row with Fifa when the governing body threatened them with unspecified sanctions if they wore armbands to promote diversity in the host country.

While they overcame that hurdle by making a stand by covering their mouths in a team photograph ahead of their first match, the saga perhaps took away their focus from their on-pitch commitments.

They will now return home to face the music.

Deep reforms will be required on both team and federation level if the country’s national sport is to survive this crisis that has destroyed Germany’s reputation across the world. Reuters/DM

A dejected fan of Germany

A dejected fan of Germany during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on 1 December, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Eberhard Knapp says:

    Come on – German doesn’t fall into “a crisis” over dropping out of the World in the early stage!! There are truly other things that matter over here!
    Like – it’s cold and energy prices have skyrocketed.
    Like – aside from some 1.5 Million refugees from all over the place (mainly Syria, Afghanistan, Irak – but also many people from West Africa, who long for the “better life”! Want to earn a good living), we now have +1 Million refugees from Ukraine! Fleeing from the new communist leader of “Greater Russia”!
    And all of them are entitled to a basic “income”…

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