Germany sift through wreckage of World Cup debacle

first_img0Shares0000Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels were two of Germany’s under-performing players © AFP / BENJAMIN CREMELVATUTINKI, Russian Federation, Jun 28 – World Cup holders Germany return home on Thursday desperately looking for answers following their historic exit, with head coach Joachim Loew set to suffer the consequences of a disastrous campaign.In one of the competition’s biggest ever shocks, Germany failed to reach the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time for 80 years, but it was the meek manner of their capitulation against South Korea in their final game that really stung. “We all made mistakes,” admitted defender Mats Hummels after the stunning 2-0 defeat left them bottom of Group F — and he meant the players, Loew and team director Oliver Bierhoff.After 12 golden years in charge crowned by the 2014 World Cup win in Brazil, Loew is considering his future after getting his tactics so badly wrong and placing faith in former stars past their prime.Germany’s coach Joachim Loew is pressure to go after the holders’ shock first round exit from the 2018 World Cup finals © AFP / Roman KruchininThe sight of Mexico pouring through a porous German midfield during the first half of the defeat in the opener against Mexico was the clearest example.Hardly anyone in the German setup leaves Russia with any credit.Bierhoff, for example, is blamed for choosing the isolated base camp at Vatutinki, southwest of Moscow, which caused unhappiness among the players.“You didn’t get the feeling that we were playing at a World Cup,” was captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s damning appraisal.Germany even had the shame of having to suspend two of their team officials for over-exuberant celebrations in front of Sweden manager Janne Andersson after the 2-1 win that appeared to have saved their skins.After Italy in 1950, Brazil in 1966, France in 2002, Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014, Germany join an infamous club of reigning champions knocked out in the group stage at the next World Cup.– ‘Stunned’ –“We’re all stunned — we’re shocked,” said Thomas Mueller, the pillar of the 2014 team who seemed strangely unable to influence events this time.Loew said he took responsibility for the failure, yet just 12 months ago he could do no wrong.He won the 2017 Confederations Cup, the World Cup warmup, with an inexperienced squad and seemed to be ready to make a spirited defence of their global title.Only last month, Loew signed a contract extension with the German Football Association (DFB) until 2022, but there are already calls for him to resign.Germany’s defender Mats Hummels (R) and Germany’s midfielder Mesut Ozil are just two of the 2014 World Cup winners who played poorly at the Russia 2018 finals. © AFP / BENJAMIN CREMELIf he goes, the 58-year-old’s misguided loyalty in senior players like Mueller, Hummels, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Jerome Boateng will have been a key factor in his downfall.All were shadows of their usual selves.If he stays, Loew will need to have a clearout and a rethink on how to nurture a new team.From the next generation of Germany starlets he unearthed at the Confederations Cup, only Timo Werner and Joshua Kimmich were rewarded with regular spots in the senior team.Loew only gave rising stars like Julian Brandt, Leon Goretzka, Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Suele first-team place when his 2014 winners were struggling, suspended or injured.Leroy Sane, the forward who shone for Manchester City last season, was cut from the final squad.Germany have stagnated, lacking tactical direction as Loew often toyed with different systems.Arrogance, something Loew was determined to keep out of his squad’s mindset, crept in.As German pundit Ralph Honigstein put it, “many players come across as one-man brand ambassadors”, more interested in gathering social media followers than focusing on football.A fierce debate in Germany over the divided loyalty of players did nothing to help cohesion after Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan — who have Turkish roots — met with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Gundogan called “my president”.– Shattered myth –Germany pride themselves on being “a tournament team”, which knows how to rise to the occasion, but that notion was blown apart in Russia.Having sailed through qualification with a perfect 10 wins, the writing was on the wall with just one victory in six pre-World Cup friendlies, and even then a shaky 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in the days before flying to Russia.Germany’s forward Thomas Mueller (R) says the squad is ‘shocked and stunned’ by the early World Cup exit. © AFP / SAEED KHAN“The last time we played well was autumn 2017,” admitted Hummels, referring to the 5-1 crushing of minnows Azerbaijan in October.The first chance to make amends is on September 6 against France in Munich in the new Nations League, but it shows how far Germany have fallen that if they win it will be only their third victory in 10 games.Loew refutes suggestions German football is about to enter a dark phase, insisting “there are enough young players, who are very talented and ready to develop”.“We have to draw the right conclusions and do better,” Loew said.For now however, Germany have to get used to the unaccustomed taste of failure.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Watch: Shikhar Dhawan does the bhangra as Bharat Army play the dhol after India win 5th ODI

first_imgShikhar Dhawan was over the moon after India’s hard-fought victory over New Zealand in the final ODI on Sunday and was seen doing the bhangra during his victory lap around the Basin Reserve.Dhawan, who was the second highest scorer behind Ambati Rayudu in the series, was walking around the ground after the post-match presentation when he stopped mid-way and noticed the Bharat Army playing the dhol.The India opener couldn’t help but do the bhangra to the tune of the Bharat Army dhol there and then. He even finished the dance with his trademark thigh-slap kabaddi-style celebration.The moment was captured on video which went viral on social media immediately after being posted online.”Shikhar Dhawan dancing to the tune of the Bharat Army Dhol in Wellington!,” Bharat Army tweeted along with a video of Dhawan dancing.#NZvIND @SDhawan25 dancing to the tune of the Bharat Army Dhol in Wellington! #BharatArmy #COTI pic.twitter.com/X5IaVEz9gpThe Bharat Army (@thebharatarmy) February 3, 2019Dhawan scored 188 runs in 5 ODIs in the series at an average of 47 but was pipped to the top by teammate Ambati Rayud, who made 90 in the final match to end up as the highest scorer with 190 runs at 63.33It was Rayudu’s knock which helped India stage a comeback in the match after they were reduced to 18 for 4 in the 10th over by the Blackcaps.Rayudu stitched a 98-run partnership for the fifth wicket with all-rounder Vijay Shankar and added 74 for the next wicket with Kedar Jadhav before getting out on 90 in the 44th over.advertisementHardik Pandya then played a brilliant cameo, scoring 45 off 22 balls with two fours and five sixes to take India to a respectable 252 in 49.5 overs.The bowlers then came to the party with Yuzvendra Chahal leading the way with 3 wickets while Mohammed Shami and Pandya picked up two each. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jadhav also bagged a wicket each as New Zealand got bowled out for 217 in Wellington.Rayudu was adjudged Player of the Match for his knock as India took the series 4-1 after winning the first, second, third and fifth ODIs by 8 wickets, 90 runs, 7 wickets and 35 runs respectively.Also Read | MS Dhoni moves up 3 places in ICC ODI rankings after sensational run in AustraliaAlso Read | India rise to 2nd in ICC ODI rankings after historic series win vs New ZealandAlso Read | Martin Guptill ruled out for T20I series vs India with back injurylast_img read more

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Jofra Archer and Steve Smith put friendship on hold for England-Australia clash

first_imgAs England and Australia are gearing up to face each other in the ongoing World Cup, former’s pacer Jofra Archer, who played with Australia’s Steve Smith in the Indian Premier League (IPL), revealed that until the game is over, there will be nothing friendly in the match.”Cricket is cricket and I guess there’s time to be friends after. But until the game is over, there will be nothing friendly about it,” Cricket.com.au quoted Archer as saying.However, when Archer was asked if he would consider Smith as a friend after their season together, he said: “Yes. I’d like to consider he thinks of me the same way as well. He’s a really good guy.”Both Archer and Smith played for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. Apart from them, Jonny Bairstow and David Warner also played together for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.Archer, who does not have any prior experience against the Australian side, feels that entering the game without prior exposure could be an advantage for him.”It is a pretty intense game between them and for me, I’m not too sure if it will affect me coming in without having experienced it before. It could be an advantage, me not being part of what happened before,” he said.England will face Australia on June 25 in Lord’s, London.Also Read | Dream11 Prediction: Playing 11, Captain and Vice-Captain Prediction for Bangladesh vs AfghanistanAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Tried to stop Rabada from taking part in IPL, reveals Faf du PlessisAlso Seeadvertisementlast_img read more

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