Germany have missed out on the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in their history. Joachim Löw’s team finished bottom of Group F after a 2-0 loss to South Korea and have to return home before the knockout phase. DFB.de gathered the reaction.
JOACHIM LÖW: Everyone in the dressing room is obviously gutted. There’s a dead silence. No one is really ready to say anything. But we have to accept the situation. Congratulations to Mexico and Sweden. We just couldn’t stick the ball in the back of the net and get ourselves in front, which has been a theme in this World Cup. It’s hard to explain why. We worked so hard in preparation for the tournament, but the football we’re so used to seeing never materialised. We deserve to go out.
We didn’t play with enough freedom against Mexico or Sweden. We never had enough dynamism to force our opponents into mistakes. We had our chances, but the clinical edge was missing. We had a plan, but we weren’t able to execute it. It’s incredibly difficult to repeat a feat like winning a World Cup. I can’t pinpoint why we failed though. Perhaps we were too complacent ahead of the Mexico game and thought we’d simply be able to flick a switch. You sensed in training that the boys were building momentum; the Sweden game gave everyone a boost.
We knew that Sweden were beating Mexico and that we had to react. We had to risk everything and push forward, and that left holes at the back. We all lost today, the whole of German football, everything that we have built up over the last years. We have reached at least the semi-finals every time since 2006. We can only apologise. Analysing what went wrong begins with me as head coach, and I will have to sleep on it before I can do that. I’m too frustrated at the moment.
It’s too early to talk about my future. We need a few hours to see things clearly. All I feel at the moment is immense disappointment. I never imagined that we would lose to South Korea. I will hold talks tomorrow in terms of what the future holds.
REINHARD GRINDEL: Everyone who is part of the DFB delegation here in Russia is thoroughly disappointed. I feel sorry for the fans who have been looking forward to this World Cup so much. It’s not the job of the president to analyse what went wrong - that’s not my place. That’s what the management is for. It’s up to them to explain what happened and we will draw our consequences from that. We always knew that there would be a rebuilding phase after this World Cup, regardless of how well it went. The presidential board and I have always felt that Joachim Löw is the right person to do that. That isn’t necessarily because of his success in 2014, but more because of what he did with a young team at the 2017 Confed Cup. That’s why we decided to extend his contract until 2022 before the tournament. I am still of that opinion and haven’t heard anything different from any other member of the presidential board.
MATS HUMMELS: "It’s really tough to put it into words. We believed right until the end, even after conceding we tried to turn the game around, but we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net today, none of us. We had enough opportunities, myself included. I have to score that one in the 85th, 86th minute. We didn’t take our chances, that was our undoing today. We saw at this World Cup that it’s not easy to break through anyone, the smaller teams are making things very difficult. We got ourselves into this position against Mexico. My concerns after that game were heard. We were much better against Sweden, we had more protection and were more comfortable on the ball. Today we became unsettled after the 65th minute and lost our structure. We have a few things to work on when we come back together. The last convincing performance we had was in autumn 2017, a while ago now. A very, very tough night for all German football fans."
SAMI KHEDIRA: "That’s one of the toughest moments for the team, the whole team, and me personally. We said before the tournament that the players from 2014 need to carry the squad. It’s not easy with many young players but we wanted it that way and we took on that responsibility – which is what we need to do now. I’m personally the first person to take responsibility. We tried, but weren’t able to do it and we need to live with the consequences. The last ten years have been sensational. It happens that at some point a major disaster comes along and when it happens, it’s incredibly sad. We had analysed both games before the World Cup. We shouldn’t have lost against Austria and only beaten Saudi Arabia 2-1. We had results like that before other tournaments, but in those instances we managed to improve our form. We need to analyse this very self-critically, but definitely not today.
OLIVER BIERHOFF: "Nobody is talking right now, everyone has sunk into silence, deeply disappointed. We had it in our own hands. It was a difficult game, but we knew that. There’s huge frustration and disappointment. We had hoped that the Sweden match would have pushed us on, but in the end it wasn’t enough, we have to be honest about that. We wanted to avoid silly mistakes today, prevent counters and tire Korea out. We created chances, but it wasn’t enough. You can see that other teams are also having a tough time of it. There’s a mental side to that too. Do you play the riskier pass and join in with the counter or not? Unfortunately we never took the lead, which would have given us more calmness. Joachim Löw recently signed a new contract, now isn’t the time for individual analysis. I assume that Jogi will continue. And then we need to go again.