The women’s national team start their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign against Montenegro on Saturday (12:30 CEST). Head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg analyses the previous World Cup and talks about her team’s plans for the European Championships in this interview with DFB.de.
DFB.de: Before we look towards Euros qualification, let’s look back at the World Cup once again. How did you personally deal with the quarter-finals exit?
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg:Of course, it is always brutal when you have to go home from a tournament early and it really hurt for a while. For me personally, it was important to watch the tournament until the end but then to distance myself from it for some time so that I could analyse it objectively. I believe taking this time is an important aspect of making sure you assess objectively, not emotionally. We looked at all the games again as a coaching team, analysed and reflected on them, and gained a lot of insights.
DFB.de: Such as?
Voss-Tecklenburg:First of all, there were a lot of positives from our point of view. The players showed great commitment and desire. We saw a lot of individual quality, had clear ideas and a match plan. Most of the time, we adapted well to different games, our set pieces worked nicely and we are very satisfied with our workload management, which allowed the squad to get through the tournament without any major muscle problems. We also noticed some young players put in good performances and develop over the course of the tournament.
DFB.de: And what didn’t go so well?
Voss-Tecklenburg:We didn’t manage to get a stable rotation going in the team. Our goal is to improve on this in the long term with the development of individual players. We need a better balance between stability and flexibility in the team and we want to be able to distribute leadership tasks as well. We also need greater resilience, mental strength and more courage. We want to strengthen the chain of command and take responsibility for our actions. We are taking part in a process and we are not at the end yet.
DFB.de: What does that mean in terms of the next few months of work?
Voss-Tecklenburg:We have to and will keep demanding the same effort from our players. Time and again, we need to make bold decisions when we are under pressure. As far as training intensity and quality goes, we will try to work with club coaches to come up with solutions together. It might be that we offer more personalised sessions so that there is the opportunity to address strengths and weaknesses individually.
DFB.de: How will you compensate for not being able to play a tournament next year?
Voss-Tecklenburg:As well as qualification for the Euros, we want to test ourselves against top opponents from the highest level. We’re playing against England in November and in spring 2020 we’ve got the Algarve Cup. In addition, we’re planning friendlies against some of the best teams in the world. DEFB.de: Why is that so important?
Voss-Tecklenburg:The players have to face real opposition if they want to improve. Only then can we judge who can or can’t cope with it and who is ready to take responsibility. However, we don’t just want to challenge our players, but encourage them too. We try to get our players to the point where they are brave and always have this irrepressible belief in themselves to say: "Yes, I can! “ We are not there yet, but it is up to us as a coaching team to keep believing in them over and over again.
DFB.de: Words like belief, mentality and willpower really bring the USA’s team to mind.
Voss-Tecklenburg:Yes, the American women have had this mentality and this belief in their abilities for many years. In my opinion, that’s what decided the tournament. The USA side didn’t win the World Cup by playing the best football, but they had the best mentality.
DFB.de: The first game of qualification for the Euros now awaits. What expectations do you have going into the match with Montenegro?
Voss-Tecklenburg:After we’ve reviewed the findings of our World Cup analysis with the players and set our goals for the next two years, our aim going forward will be to qualify top of our group for the finals in England and go into the Euros with a lot of enthusiasm.