In the aftermath of their stunning 1-0 loss to Mexico in the opening group game of the 2018 World Cup, Germany’s players have held emergency crisis meetings about how to get their title defence back on track while some former stars of Die Mannscaft have urged coach Joachim Low to drop misfiring midfield Mesut Ozil to the bench.
According to reports from British newspaper Daily Telegraph, quoting goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the players are scared that they may be facing a first round exit if they don’t get it right against Sweden in the second game on Saturday.
Neuer reportedly got to Tuesday press conference some 50minutes late because Germany’s players were held up in a heated crisis meeting at their Russian training base in Watuntinki, Moscow as the pressure mounts on the world champions.
Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Mexico has left Germany with little margin for error against Sweden in Sochi on Saturday and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer admitted the Mexican debacle was a “wake up call” that sparked a frank internal inquiry, with head coach Joachim Low faces growing calls to drop Mesut Ozil.
“We didn’t mince words, because we want to make things better against Sweden,” the Bayern Munich goalkeeper said. “We talked a lot. We’re our harshest critics. It was a wake-up call – there has never been such strong words within the team. “We are angry at ourselves and disappointed with what we showed against Mexico on the field.”
Low, after the Mexican debacle, is facing renewed calls for Ozil who had a better-to-be-forgotten-game to be dropped from the team.
Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus wrote in his newspaper column: “For a year or two, Özil has played much weaker and at a level that does not justify Jogi Löw’s free ticket.
“With Özil on the pitch I often have the feeling that he does not feel comfortable in the German jersey, is not free, almost as if he does not want to play. There is no heart, no joy, no passion.”
Another former Germany midfielder, Stefan Effenburg, also asked that Marco Reus, who came on as a substitute against Mexico, should be named in the starting 11 for Ozil.
“I could not understand that Reus did not play against Mexico from the start,” he said. “If it is true what Reus said after the game that he was only scheduled in the ‘important games’, then the coach has completely misjudged this. The most important game was that against the strongest group opponent: Mexico.”
Germany will face Sweden, 1-0 winners over Korea Republic, in Sochi while Mexico will face the Asians in Rostov on Saturday.