Flick flies solo against FIFA, Germany prepares for crucial Spain clash | GERMANY

hAnsi Flick sat alone at the top table in press conference room 1, a palpable display of pressure from an isolated German manager. The reason for his lone appearance could result in a FIFA fine, but it will be worth every Swiss franc if it saves the four-time world champion from a humiliating early exit.

As you may have heard, Qatar does things differently, and media duties are no exception. A manager and a player must be present at the press conference the day before the match – only at this World Cup, it’s not held at the stadium or at the team’s training ground, but at FIFA’s main media center in Doha . For Germany, that involved a 210km round trip from their Al Shamal training base on the northern tip of Qatar. For Flick, knowing that Sunday’s loss to an in-form Spain side will almost certainly be knocked out is not the way to prepare for the most onerous task of his reign with the national team. So he showed up alone.

“We can’t expect a player to come and drive for three hours. It’s a very important game, so I told them I’m coming myself,” said the Germany coach. “Every single player in the 26 is important so I’m asking them not to come together because it’s important that they invest in the training sessions.

“We are disappointed. We have a very good media center [at the training ground] a player could have [to come] If only the press conference had been held closer. “

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The DFB asked for the press conference to be relocated, but FIFA refused, fearing it would set an inconvenient precedent. FIFA’s response is also expected to include fines for players’ absences.

After his media appearance, Flick headed back north for another training session ahead of the showdown in Spain. There was still a lot of work to be done to deal with the prolific threat from Luis Enrique’s young side after a disastrous opening defeat to Japan.

“For me, the main focus is football,” Flick said when asked about the many disruptions surrounding the German team in Qatar, such as the OneLove armband and the team’s subsequent protest. “I believe in what we want to do and how we want to play, even if we are not 100 per cent and not as intense as our opponents.

“Japan is tough, it’s painful, it could have been avoided. But we need to stand our ground. We have quality, we’re optimistic. That’s what it’s all about – be brave. The team that is going all out to make sure we get to the round of 16. The door is still open.

Germany's Ilkay Gundogan shows disappointment after loss to Japan
Ilkay Gundogan, who scored Germany’s equalizer from the penalty spot, showed disappointment after the loss to Japan. Photo: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock

Spain have an ominous record of late closing the door on games in Germany. Flick was Loew’s assistant when Germany lost to Spain in the Euro 2008 final in Vienna and the 2010 World Cup semi-final in Durban. “I’ve played a lot of games against Spain in the past, when we also lost in 2008 and 2010,” he said. “That doesn’t matter anymore. The other games are the past, tomorrow is the future.

“If you look at the last two games [Euro 2020 and the 2018 World Cup] We’re not doing well, and we want to stop that from happening. Tomorrow is our first final of this World Cup. That’s what it’s all about. We must prevent going out. “

At the last World Cup, Germany finished bottom of their group with Sweden, Mexico and South Korea. They were beaten by England in the round of 16 at the postponed European Championships last summer. Those two poor performances paved the way for Flick to succeed Joachim Low, but the managerial change has done little to change reservations about the squad and there is plenty of excitement about Sunday’s crucial match at the Albert Stadium. disturbed.

Asked whether Germany still considered itself a favorite on the international stage, Flick’s answer underscored Germany’s loss of confidence and stature. “Sunday’s game will show that,” he said. “Wait and see. Maybe then I can answer the question better.”

Flick has been criticized for his starting selection and substitutions against Japan. He wasn’t losing sleep over what to do next. He said: “I’m not quite sure about the lineup yet, there are a few vacancies. But I’ll go to training, get a good night’s sleep and tomorrow I’ll know what the lineup is for me.

“We had a clear discussion as individuals and as a team. We need to explain to the players what to do against Spain, they can find gaps and be brave and I’m sure they know that.”

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