July 3, 2018
Loew Tries to Explain Shocking German Loss
Even before the shocking German loss to Korea in the World Cup, some headlines were already insisting Joachim Loew’s job was safe, regardless of the result. The fact that those arguments were even being made even before Germany’s ouster from the Cup, telegraphs the somewhat weak expectations of the defending champion German squad.
Part of those low expectations of Loew’s crew stems from the fact that three of the last four World Cup winners — France (2002), Italy (2010), and Spain (2014) — failed to make it out of the group stage in their next cup appearance. The more telling factor, though, is the apparent lack of faith in both Loew and his team.
Soccer fans, both in and out of Germany, didn’t show much confidence in the coach or his players, putting Loew on the defensive even as his team was in hottest spotlights on the world stage. The team wasn’t saying much heading into the tournament, but now that Germany’s ouster is official, both players and the coach are talking. Trying both to explain and excuse the loss.
German defender, Mats Hummels, who enjoyed the fame of beating Brazil in the World Cup final four years ago, said his teammates never quit fighting. “It’s very, very hard to put it into words… We believed until the end today. Even when it was 0-1, I think we kept trying to turn it all around.”
But, when you’re the powerhouse German national team, belief is not nearly good enough for your fans, a point Germany keeper Manuel Neuer understands. He called the loss to Korea a “dark day for German football.” And, while Germans may agree, they aren’t letting the team or the coach off the hook.
And what did Loew have to say? He started with honesty: “We deserved to be eliminated… For us, this is a huge disappointment.”
True… but not nearly good enough to explain a loss to Korea, a team that didn’t play well enough to advance either, a team that, giving them all due respect, was not supposed to pose much of a challenge for the Germans.
So, how did Loew explain the loss, then? He said, “…we have young players who are talented and have the potential to go forward. It happened to other nations before. We need to draw the right conclusions.”
And, what conclusions are those? That’s the question many fans are asking. Was Germany overrated? Are they too young, too inexperienced? Just not good enough? Or, is the issue the coaching? It’s been well-publicized that Loew tinkered with the lineups. Some are already saying he got too “creative” or too “cute” with the lineup on the field. Some said that change, right before the Korea game, explains why the German squad came out listless and out of sync, looking “a bit nervous.”
If that’s the case, Loew has to own the lion’s share of blame for this major upset. Whether German fans and team officials see it that way is unknown at this time. Either way, Loew needs to do better than “It’s happened before” if he wants people to connect with his message.