Muller calls Germany exit an ‘absolute catastrophe’

Football

DOHA, Qatar — Hansi Flick said German football will “head into a different direction, and very soon” after the four-time world champions suffered a second successive World Cup group stage elimination, described as an “absolute catastrophe” by forward Thomas Muller.

Despite a 4-2 win against Costa Rica at Al Bayt Stadium, Japan‘s 2-1 victory against Spain in Doha ended Germany‘s hopes of qualifying from Group E.

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A 2-1 defeat against Japan in their opening game at Qatar 2022 ultimately proved costly for Germany, who are due to host Euro 2024 in just over 18 months.

And with that tournament looming large, Flick, who did not address his own future as coach, said that big changes will be made to ensure Germany are competitive at Euro 2024.

“In light of the Euros, it is difficult to talk about that right now, but we need to assess our World Cup, head into a different direction,” Flick said. “This is the next step we will take, and we will do it very soon.

“We can get up quickly and recover. We will see what the future looks like and how we can implement our ideas. I am a very critical person and we will assess everything.”

One part of Germany’s “different direction” is likely to see World Cup winners such as Muller, Manuel Neuer and Mario Gotze phased out of the international team.

Muller, whose World Cup debut came in South Africa in 2010, admitted the early exit from this tournament was tough to take.

“It’s an absolute catastrophe,” Muller said. “It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough [if Spain hadn’t lost to Japan]. It’s a feeling of powerlessness.

“If that was my last game for Germany, it has been a tremendous pleasure, thank you very much.”

Spain’s failure to avoid defeat against Japan was decisive for Germany, but Flick said his team had nobody but themselves to blame for their elimination.

“I don’t care about different teams, it’s all up to us,” Flick said. “If you look at the games and number of goals that were our fault, I am convinced that we gave away our chances against Spain and Japan.

“You have to take your chances and score goals. If we had, it would have been a different story. There were lots of individual mistakes in the games and it made me very angry. I told the team I was upset.

“But I am not looking for excuses. We fulfilled our duty today, we got the win, but the scoreline could have been better.”

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