30 June 2021

‘Fatal self-delusion’ – German press reflect on team’s descent into ‘mediocrity’

30 June 2021

Germany’s players and outgoing coach Joachim Low came in for fierce criticism from the country’s media following their Euro 2020 defeat to England.

Low’s side were dumped out of the tournament at the last-16 stage after second-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane at Wembley secured a memorable win for England.

It was a disappointing end to Low’s 15-year tenure as Germany coach. He announced in March that he would step down after the tournament and former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick is to take over.

England manager Gareth Southgate, left, with Germany counterpart Joachim Low (AP)

Germany’s defeat dominated the front page of tabloid newspaper Bild.

Under the main headline “Jogi, everything off”, the sub-headings read “Muller passes up equaliser”, “Kimmich’s tears” and “Bitter farewell for Low”.

Bild claimed Low had outlasted his stay, saying: “It’s a fact: the first 10 years of Low were great. Five tournaments, five times semi-finals at least, 2014 World Cup success with a 7-1 win against Brazil.

“It’s also a fact: the last three Low years have been a disappointment. Out in the World Cup group stage, out in the last 16 of the Euros, only two wins in seven tournament games.

“The result of a fatal self-delusion.”

Harry Kane's header four minutes from the end sealed Germany's fate at Wembley (PA Wire)

Bild added: “Both Low himself and the DFB (German Football Association) leadership around manager Oliver Bierhoff should admit that it would have been better to draw a line under things after the 6-0 defeat to Spain in November, or at the latest after the 2-1 loss against North Macedonia in March.

“(Under-21 coach Stefan) Kuntz, (Ralf) Rangnick or, in the interim, future Champions League winner (Thomas) Tuchel would have been ready.”

“Bye-bye Jogi”, read the headline on the front page of the Express newspaper, which added: “Dear Englishmen, with a deserved win you have taken back your Wembley stadium from us and ended the great era of Joachim Low. You had the guts we lacked. Good luck for the rest of the Euros.”

Germany’s Thomas Muller, right, consoles Joshua Kimmich (AP)

Die Welt claimed the last three years of Low’s time in charge had seen Germany slip from one of the best sides in the world “into mediocrity”.

“The national team is just plain average,” Die Welt said. “The outgoing national coach Low has made mistakes, the successor Flick left a difficult legacy. And what has the DFB president said about it? Oh yeah, there isn’t one.

“Elimination is more than the early failure of the national team at an important tournament. It is proof that German football has largely wasted three years. And plunged from the top of the world into mediocrity.”

The Suddeutsche Zeitung agreed, saying: “Yes, the game against England could have been different, but the feeling of a missed chance remains. The commendable national coach Joachim Low has to live with the judgment that he missed the time to quit.”

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