Germany head coach Hansi Flick has blamed a late lapse against Japan in their opening match for his team’s early World Cup elimination. Kai Havertz scored twice as Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in their last group match on Thursday, but Japan’s 2-1 win over Spain meant Hansi Flick’s side finished third in Group E, behind Spain on goal difference.
Flick said his team had paid the price for a poor performance in the first group fixture against Japan when Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored in the last 20 minutes to give the Samurai Blue a 2-1 win.
“Our downfall didn’t happen today, but in 20 minutes against Japan,” Flick said, reports Xinhua. “We could have won against Spain with a bit more efficiency. Nevertheless, the disappointment is huge.”
Germany had 32 shots on goal on Thursday, 11 of which were on target, while Costa Rica had seven attempts and five that forced goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into action.
“I’m not speechless. I was already disappointed and angry with the team in the first half,” Flick said. “We brought the opponent into the game through mistakes and carelessness.”
He added: “We missed a lot of chances in the first half and tried to do better in the second half. We can blame ourselves for the fact that we’re going home. My disappointment is huge, and my coaching staff feels the same way.”
Germany’s forward Thomas Muller described his team’s early elimination from the World Cup as an “absolute catastrophe” and hinted he might have played his last international match.
“It’s unbelievably bitter for us because we thought our result would have been enough,” Muller said. “It’s a feeling of powerlessness.”
It marks the second consecutive time that Germany have failed to reach the World Cup knockout stage following their dismal showing in Russia four years ago when they finished last in their group as defending champions.
Muller, who has scored 10 goals across four World Cup editions, did not guarantee he would continue in the national team.
“For me personally, this is an absolute catastrophe. If this was my last game, it was a huge pleasure,” the 33-year-old said. “We experienced incredible moments together. In every game, I tried to leave my heart on the pitch. I’ve done it with love.”