After losing the opening game against Brazil, ‘Team D’ travelled to the Olympic Village to attend the opening ceremony. Stefan Kuntz spoke afterwards to the press about the Olympic Village, the setback against Brazil and the next game against Saudi Arabia.
…visiting the Olympic Village: It was nice to go there and clear our heads a bit. Also in terms of evening out our workload, the visit suited us. It was a fantastic experience, meeting and talking to athletes and coaches from all the different sports, like Jörg Roßkopf (Germany’s Table Tennis head coach).
…the opening ceremony: Aside from five players who returned to the hotel with little injuries, everyone was present at the ceremony. Only six officials were allowed to attend along with the athletes, and since these places went to the German Olympic Sports Federation, I stayed at the hotel. I am looking forward to tomorrow morning when the players will tell me about the experience.
…processing the Brazil game: We analysed the first half today. It’s not for nothing that South American or African teams often pick up Olympic medals. They have U23 teams which we don’t. Furthermore, the Brazilian league campaign has already begun, so players are more in form. Our players, on the other hand, are in the middle of pre-season and weren’t one hundred percent lively and explosive. That explains the technical and coordinative mistakes being made. We were more annoyed about our tactical display. We gave the team instructions that especially in our build-up play were not followed. We weren’t getting into the right positions and made it difficult for each other. Brazil exploited that and broke down our lines with great passing. We were lucky that it was only 3-0 at the break.
…the players’ mental state: The mental side of things is important. As part of managing their workload, we will look to make sure the players are fresher for the Saudi Arabia game.
…Saudi Arabia: They cover a lot of ground and marked Ivory Coast’s players well. They’ve got a good structure in midfield. On top of that, they talk a lot on the pitch. They’ve also got an U23s side, who will know each other better than we do. We will need to mentally be in the right place to win this game.
…Maximilian Arnold not being available: Maxi is incredibly important for our team. Max Kruse will replace him as captain. We’ve already thought a lot about how we can replace him. We have to consider that Amos, Benni and Jordan all picked up a yellow card, which could have an impact on the potentially decisive third group game and then maybe the next round too.
…Ragnar Ache: He scored a great goal, but could have held the ball up more in one or two situations. Our line-up will determine how we play against Saudi Arabia. We will have to consider who is fit enough to play more minutes and who might not play due to possibly being banned for the final group game.