ALQOR, Qatar (AP) — Back-to-back World Cup exits Germany coach Hansi Flick wants to go back to basics.
The four-time champions were knocked out of the group stage again, four years later in Russia as the defending champions.
Something has to change, Flick said after Thursday’s 4-2 win over Costa Rica, which was still not enough to secure a place in the round of 16.
“I believe we have to do things differently in training for the future of German football,” said Flick, who took over as coach after last year’s European Championship. “For years we have been talking about new goalkeepers and wingbacks, but Germany have always been able to defend well. We need the basics.
“For the future, for the next 10 years, it’s very important to focus on the new generation of players.”
It was eight years ago that Germany won their fourth World Cup by defeating Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final at the Maracana Stadium. With that victory, Germany became the only European team to win the World Cup in North or South America.
In Qatar, an opening defeat to Japan set the stage for a disappointing season. Germany were beaten 2-1 in that match last week, followed by a 1-1 draw against Spain.
The Germans had a chance in the last match at the Al Bad Stadium, and it was enough for a few minutes during Thursday’s simultaneous final group matches. For example, at halftime, Germany beat Costa Rica and Japan lost to Spain – results that would have put the Germans in the round of 16.
Japan won 2-1 against the Spaniards This cost the Germans the chance to play at least one more match in Qatar.
Flick pointed to Spain as an example for his country to follow.
Although the 2010 World Cup champions lost to Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, “Spain are very good in defence,” he said. “It focuses on training young players. They know the tactics very well.
It got off to a great start for Germany on Thursday as Serge Gnabry scored a 10th-minute header to give Spain the lead against Japan.
Both matches turned upside down in the second half.
Yeltsin Tejeda equalized the score in the 58th minute, and Juan Vargas smashed in another in the 70th minute to give Costa Rica a 2-1 lead.
“There were a lot of personal mistakes, and these are the things that make me really angry,” Flick said.
But German substitute Kei Havarts made it 2-2 in the 73rd minute and then restored Germany’s lead in the 85th minute. Another substitute, Niklas Fulkrug, added a fourth.
Costa Rica lost their first game against Spain 7-0. The team then put on a brilliant performance to beat Japan 1-0.
“It’s not what we saw in our first game,” Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez said. “We had to go back to qualify for the World Cup.”
The match was also notable for having French referee Stéphanie Fraparte She became the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup match.
Manuel Neuer made his record 19th World Cup appearance as a goalkeeper – overtaking German great Sepp Meyer and Brazil keeper Claudio Dufferal.
Mathias Ginter is playing in his third World Cup, but he has yet to play a single minute in the match against Costa Rica. Everything changed when he came on as a substitute in the 89th minute.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”