AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Consecutive early World Cup exits Germany coach Hansi Flick wants to get back to basics.
The four-time champions were knocked out again in the group stage and their embarrassing performance as defending champions in Russia four years later.
Something has to change and Flick said after Thursday’s 4-2 win over Costa Rica was still not enough to secure a place in the round of 16.
“I believe that for the future of German football we need to do something different in training,” said Flick, who took over as coach after last year’s European Championships. “We’ve been talking about new goalkeepers and full-backs for years, but Germany have always been able to defend well. We need the basics.
“For the future, the next 10 years, it is very important to focus on the new generation of players.”
Only eight years ago, Germany won their fourth World Cup title by beating a Lionel Messi-led Argentina in their prime in the final at the Maracanã. With that victory, Germany became the only European team to win a World Cup in North or South America.
In Qatar, it was the opening loss to Japan that set the stage for this disappointing finish. Germany were beaten 2-1 in that game last week and then drew 1-1 with Spain.
That gave the Germans a chance in their final game at the Al Bayt Stadium and a few minutes in their final group game, which was played simultaneously on Thursday, would have been enough. Germany, for example, beat Costa Rica at half-time, while Japan lost to Spain – results that would have sent Germany into the round of 16.
Japan beat Espanyol 2-1 That essentially cost the Germans the chance to play at least one more match in Qatar.
Frick cited Spain as an example he hopes his country will follow.
“Spain were very good defensively,” he said, even though the 2010 World Cup winners ended up losing to Japan at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium. “It focuses on training young players. They know tactics very well.”
Germany got off to a good start on Thursday, with Serge Gnabry’s 10th-minute header giving Spain an early lead over Japan.
Both games turned upside down in the second half.
Yeltsin Tejeda equalized in the 58th minute and Juan Vargas added a goal in the 70th minute to give Costa Rica a 2-1 lead with a sudden strike on target to advance.
“There were a lot of personal mistakes and those were the things that made me very angry,” Flick said.
But Havertz, who came off the bench for Germany, made it 2-2 in the 73rd minute before the Germans regained the lead in the 85th minute. Another substitute, Niclas Füllkrug, came on.
Costa Rica lost their first match to Spain 7-0. Then the team performed even better, beating the Japanese team 1-0.
“We are not what we saw in the first game,” Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez said. “We have to get back to the things that got us to qualify for the World Cup.”
The match was also notable as French referee Stéphanie Frappart Became the first woman to officiate a men’s World Cup match.
Manuel Neuer set a goalkeeping record in his 19th World Cup appearance – surpassing Germany great Sepp Maier and Brazil’s Claudio Taffarel ( Cláudio Taffarel).
Matthias Ginter is playing in his third World Cup but has yet to play a minute in either game against Costa Rica. That all changed when he came off the bench in the 89th minute.
James Robson at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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