Germany have now started both World Cups with a defeat. In his interview, head coach Hansi Flick discussed the reasons behind the 2-1 defeat and explained what can be done to improve.
Question: What was behind this disappointing 2-1 loss?
Hansi Flick: We’re brutally disappointed at the moment. We were on a good trajectory, had 78 percent possession and deserved to lead. In the second half, we created some good chances, but unfortunately we didn’t take them. Japan were simply more efficient in front of goal.
Question: What else?
Flick: We made individual errors that we simply cannot make during the World Cup. We need to defend better and put pressure on the ball in our own half. For both goals, we can and need to do much better in reacting as a team.
Question: Do you see any parallels between the opening defeat to Mexico in 2018 and the subsequent early exit from the group stages?
Flick: I wasn’t there in 2018, so I’m not interested in it. I’m looking ahead. We did some things well and must take our chances on Sunday against Spain. We have to quality to win that game – but we need to perform for the full 90 minutes.
Question: What do you need to do better?
Flick: Spain are different opponent and we have another game plan for that match. And we will need to have one. We’re under pressure on zero points but we have brought this on ourselves. We now need to make sure that we have the character to go about things differently. We still need to be courageous, determined and we need the level of aggression that is required at a World Cup.
Question: Ilkay Gündogan has been critical of the performance. Are you concerned that the team are unsettled?
Flick: I am not concerned about that at all. Ilkay is entitled to his opinion. I consider it very important that the team adjudge the situation correctly and take responsibility. It was the worst possible start even though there was more in it for us.
Question: Is it possible that the “One Love” situation was a bit of a distraction?
Flick: No. We’re not looking for excuses. That would be too cheap. Japan are a very good team, they are well-drilled, tactically astute, they played to their strengths and they were very efficient. I would also have liked to have seen these things from my team.
Question: What did your players want to show with the gesture before the game?
Flick: It was a gesture from the team to point out that FIFA are denying us our voice. Simple as that.