On June 27th 2010 Frank Lampard was cruelly robbed of a goal that would have clawed England from 2 goals down to level against Germany in the last 16 of the World Cup. In those historic pre-VAR days things were more open to debate, and even though it seemed like the only four people in the world who failed to acknowledge the goal had crossed the line were the officials, as it went England capitulated and lost 4-1.
Of that squad, Khedira, Ozil, Neuer, Boateng, Gomez, Muller, and Kroos remained.
So how ironic it was that on the very same day 8 years later the final nail in Germany’s coffin was delivered by VAR. Having initially had Young-Gwon’s goal ruled out for offside, the referee went to the video footage, and correctly awarded the goal after the ball was played by Toni Kroos.
27th June 2010
Frank Lampard’s “ghost goal” vs Germany ruled out despite being over the line.
27th June 2018
— SPORF (@Sporf) June 27, 2018
Game. Set. Match.
But where did it all go wrong?
In a seemingly predictable group, where Germany were favoured to top, with either Mexico or Sweden battling it out for second, they instead finished bottom of the group in humiliating fashion.
With ten men a last minute winner against Sweden could have been a catalyst for improvement, that they would finally kick on, but it was not to be. If anything their performance dipped painfully against a Korean side already eliminated from the competition.
A lot was made about the decision to omit Leroy Sane from the squad. The Premier League Young Player Of The Year was outstanding throughout the campaign for Manchester City, his change of pace, and ability to get behind the defence was a constant problem for teams coming up against him, but he was left out in exchange for Brandt. Miroslav Klose said in the training camp, Brandt had showed a bit more than Sane and there was only one spot up for grabs. Anyone watching the Premier League this season will have known what a talent Sane was, but maybe it was harsh to suggest that Brandt was a lesser player.
In the three World Cup appearances where Brandt came off the bench he showed pace, an ability to beat a man, and hit the post in 2 of his 3 appearances. He was a threat.
So would Sane have made a massive difference?
Probably not. The football Man City play is fast, fluid, they move the ball at pace, and it allows players like Sane opportunity to get one on one and beat a man. Throughout Germanys World Cup the passing was lethargic, sideways, there was nothing precise about their play. By the time the ball would have reached Sane, the chances are the opposition would already have ten men behind the ball.
Considering Leroy Sane was left out of Germany’s squad for not being able to play the way Germany do, it’s looking like more of a compliment to him as each second passes. #KORGER
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) June 27, 2018
I think only two players can leave the World Cup with any sense of pride, that being Timo Werner and Toni Kroos.
Werner, even though he didn’t score, was a constant thorn in the side of the opposition. Running tirelessly for the cause, coming deep to get the ball, running out in the channels. I felt sympathy for him because this was an opportunity for him to make a mark for himself on the big stage, with the world watching it was a chance to move on to a bigger club that RB Leipzig. Unfortunately, he was completely deprived of any service to show how clinical he can be.
Pushed out wide with the introduction of Mario Gomez, who was more than happy to show us why he has never been able to be a starter at this level, squandering more than the one chance.
Toni Kroos was in a similar boat, scoring the last minute winner against Sweden he looked like he cared. That what was happening around him was not good enough, that they needed to be better, but the players around him just kept passing the ball back to him and failing to move.
Ozil, Muller, Goretzka, Reus, Kimmich, Draxer, Hector, all failed to move or create spaces for Kroos to move into. Even when he found the more creative players they were slow in possession, predictable, or as Muller exampled on many any occasion, failed to trap the ball and turned over possession.
Were they overconfident or were the ages starting to show?
As shown in the first part of this, 7 players from 2010, still remain in the squad. In 2010 they were in a very similar situation to what position England are in now. They had a batch of youngsters, very inexperienced, and they were thrilling. The way they dismantled England was a sign of things to come, it was no shock that they came good in 2014. But that electricity and excitement has faded from this crop of players.
Looking at it in hindsight a day later and I don’t feel shocked that this has happened.
Lowe was bold in 2010, but has remained consistent with his selections since. The fact he still chooses to place his faith in a player like Ozil, who’s been consistently scrutinised for his lacklustre performances for Arsenal, or Neuer despite the fact that he has missed almost the entirety of the domestic season with injury, shows he is no longer selecting boldly. He is selecting safely in the players who he has been able to trust. Muller, who was spectacular in 2010 and 2014, has struggled to replicate any kind of top form for Bayern in the last two years, and his stock only began to marginally rise again in the second half of this season.
“What went wrong for #GER?”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 27, 2018
Not in the Champions League, but in a Bundesliga where Bayern are a dominant force and have an almost 3 goals per game average over a season a player of Mullers quality should be scoring goals at this level, but for him to be noticeably missing for a long period of time should have been concerning.
Muller World Cup 2018 stats:
O key passes
4 passes completed
6% pass completion
0 dribbles completed
Absolute disgrace. pic.twitter.com/x9WGkHHTfP
— Raf (@Rafianco) June 27, 2018
But surely the most concerning selection, which can only be assumed was based on loyalty, and that he was captain when Germany won the Confederations Cup in 2017, was Jerome Boateng.
Was there a worse performer, not just for Germany, but perhaps in the World Cup than Jerome Boateng?
Against Mexico he was caught out of position countless times, and his performance against Sweden will be marked as perhaps the worst individual performance of a German in any competition. Gave the ball away, roamed around the pitch like someone was dictating his movements with a Playstation controller. Hanging around in the final third, then getting two yellows when his team were crying out for leaders and calm.
Left to spend the final of the German campaign in the stands looking like a Puff Daddy wannabe from 1995.
LMFAO KLOSE AND BOATENG’S REACTION TO THAT BOTCHED ATTEMPT pic.twitter.com/iVDym1LsNQ
— gabbi (@lemongaab) June 27, 2018
It would be very much a surprise if Sule or Rudiger don’t phase him out of the squad by Euro 2020. The only joy that his shambolic performance brought was the half time roasting heaped upon him, as Gary Neville and Roy Keane got the opportunity to take it in terms to rinse his performance.
— ㅤEl Diego (@MaverickDiego) June 23, 2018
On the whole I think a lot of the players went into the competition feeling a reputation was enough to win them points, there was a comfortable feel around the players like they were untouchable.
Dropping Ozil and Khedira for the second game and grinding out the three points proved they could compete without them, so it was a regressive move for them to be recalled for the final game after such poor performances against Mexico. The decision lacked any real sense. Neither had come off the bench against Sweden and made an impact, they hadn’t earned that spot back, they had simply been handed it.
But is the future bleak?
Definitely not, Werner, Sane, Brandt, Sule, Ter Stegan, Goretzka, Draxler, Kimmich, Ginter, Rudiger are all twenty-five or younger. Already experienced players domestically, this horror show of a campaign will be a much needed wake up call for the Germans.
These players will be forever haunted as the only German team to fail to progress from the group stages, and the new breed will have a chance to start fresh.
Your support across the globe was incredible. We celebrated together in 2014, but sometimes in football you have to accept defeat and admit that your opponents were better.
Thanks to Russia for your hospitality! pic.twitter.com/g5yrMtl3GS
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 28, 2018