Joachim Löw gave his assessment of the early World Cup exit before he announced his 23-man squad in Sinsheim, for the upcoming Nations-League opener against France (6th September) and the friendly against Peru (9th September). Löw spoke in a self-critical and ruthless manner. DFB.de recorded the national team coach’s view on the World Cup.
… the period of time after the World Cup exit: It was a huge blow for myself and all involved. You can’t gloss it over. We underperformed hugely in Russia and got punished for it. The first three days after being knocked were full of frustration for me, as well as a lot of gloom, huge disappointment and much anger. On the fourth day, I met with Oliver Bierhoff to exchange opinions. At the end of the day, the most important thing for us was, after 14 years, to relay the foundations that promote good motivation, energy and strength. We did not have this in Russia and it will help get the ship back on course again.
… the moment the analysis results were released: We consciously took our time so that we could have a chat with a few important players once they were back from holiday. We waited for the World Cup to end before we looked at our trends. We used all possible data and new findings from the tournaments in 2010 and 2014 to be able to properly compare. We counter attacked more in 2010. In 2018, we became more of a team that concentrated on possession and tried to completely dominate in order to win. The data showed that in 2014, we had the perfect balance.
… the way the national team plays: At the World Cup, there was less focus on defence. Counter attacking was more important and more goals were scored from counter attacks. Set pieces also played a bigger role at this World Cup, while possession football is still important at major tournaments. However, teams must change their playing style in the knock-out stages. My biggest overestimation was that we would reach at least the next round by dominating games. It was almost like arrogance, I wanted to persist with this tactic for too long and I kept trying to perfect it. I did not set up the team to play a certain way, whereas in 2014, there was a balance.
… the performance data at the World Cup in Russia: We made less sprints this time, which was also the case at previous tournaments. We had good running statistics but we did not have the intensity. We played less direct and slower football than in 2010 or 2014. We took too long with our passing, which gave the opponents the opportunity to reorganise themselves.
… the lack of chances: We also had a big problem with creating chances. We had 24 attempts per game, which resulted in 30 more shots per goal than in 2014, which is a record high. We can learn from the statistics to adapt our game in the future.
… other important findings: We must adapt our game in order to be more flexible and less predictable. If you want to win a tournament, you need enthusiasm and have in your fire belly, which should increase in each round you progress. We failed to provide important stimuli for the players. We only had a small flame, when my players usually have a fire. It would have obviously been my job to demand more from them. When we can get the right balance by reigniting the fire and passion, we will have strong foundations for the team.
… the changes in the team: It is also important that we can make changes to the team in the immediate future. We need to find the right balance between experienced and young, dynamic, hungry players. The upcoming Nations League provides us with an important task and we will prepare the players for this challenge. With a good mixture of youth and experience, we will be able to manage this ‘now more than ever’ feeling again. Die Mannschaft will take on a different form.
… Mesut Özil: His advisor called me to say that Mesut has given his explanation and will retire from the national team. I would normally call the player myself but Mesut decided on a different route. He still has not called me to this day. I tried contacting him for two weeks but I have to now accept the situation as it is. I had underestimated the incident with the photos (with Turkish President Erdogan). The saga was very stressful but that is no excuse. Mesut has exaggerated the suggestions of racism within the DFB. I have never detected anything of the sort in my whole time working with the DFB. There have never been any racist messages in our team.
… the changes in the backroom staff: We had a large team of staff supporting the players, but we have now decided that less is sometimes more. Thomas Schneider has taken over as head of scouting, while Urs Siegenthaler will continue as part of the scouting team but will take on a higher role.