By Oliver Trust BERLIN Germany (Xinhua)
-- Relief couldn’t have been any
greater after Toni Kroos struck in stoppage time to give Germany
a 2-1 win against Sweden which kept their chances alive of
progressing to the last 16. The 29-year-old midfielder is one of
the heroes of the 2014 World Cup win that coach Joachim Loew has
been relying on. Things however now seem to have changed as the
apparently untouchable reigning champions are no longer
guaranteed a place in the team. From now the big names will have
to battle with the squad members to stay in the starting eleven.
While Loew is hoping
for a motivation boost after the side’s first victory, the team
itself is suffering from the ups and downs in form of his key
European Champions League winner Kroos was Germany’s life-saver
against Sweden, the midfielder also seems to be part of the
team’s current problems. All of Germany’s first team regulars
are disappointing Loew.
experienced players like Sami Khedira (Juventus), Mesut Oezil
(Arsenal), Kroos, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas
Mueller (all Bayern Munich) have so far failed to come up with
Not firing on all
cylinders, the experienced players are currently turning the
German team into a wavering giant on leaden feet.
It sounds weird but
the narrow win against Sweden might be the needed turning point
for the struggling German side. The game showed there is still a
great determination in the squad but Loew needs to consider
picking reserves like Sebastian Rudy, Marco Reus, Mario Gomez
and Julian Brandt. “We believed in the quality of our entire
squad,” Loew commented.
It seems as if the
successful era of the world champions as the team’s only source
of energy has come to an end.
Thomas Mueller said
the victory against Sweden was special. “We have butterflies now
as we know we have the chance to gradually build up full steam.”
The striker assumed: “Everything is now possible, from the worst
case to the best.”
But why is Germany
stuttering? Media, pundits, and fans are puzzling over the
reasons, which seem diverse.
newspaper wrote about a mystery as “Mueller is still trying to
find a right place in the German game.” At the 2010 and 2014
World Cups, the Munich player was one of Germany’s heroes. In
2018, he seems to have lost faith and confidence.
Other media are
debating about the lack of consistency amongst what is called
the “team’s axis” starting with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
continuing with the central defense with Hummels and Boateng,
the midfield with Kroos and Khedira and Mueller up front.
Hummels, Boateng and Mueller are searching for the form of the
glory days, wrote several German media. They accuse Loew of not
having put them under enough pressure to generate new
motivation. Despite having talented many youngsters, Loew has
favored his established forces when selecting his starting
Against Sweden, Loew
failed to turn around things to perfection but has started to
make changes in his player policy. The coach replaced Oezil and
Khedira - both played poorly against Mexico with Rudy and Marco
Reus. Other team leaders like Boateng, Kroos and Mueller still
performed below par.
explained away the problems of the team’s leaders with
disappointing club results domestically and in Europe. Mueller,
Hummels, Boateng, Sebastian Rudy and Joshua Kimmich all lost the
German Cup final and failed to reach the Champions League final.
treble dreams become a burden,” the wrote “Die Welt”. The paper
singled out Joshua Kimmich and Mueller admitting the
disappointing season still is a burden. “It feels like someone
has pulled out the plug,” said Mueller. His teammate said he
couldn’t get the poor season out of his head.
Neuer seems the only
surprise when it comes to established players despite his
eight-month injury break due to a broken foot. “The key
performers need to take responsibility and improve,” Neuer said.
seems to indicate that other 2014 World Cup heroes have to catch
up despite having won the trophy four years ago. In advance of
the decisive group match against South Korea this Wednesday, it
looks like as if the German squad has to open a new era if they
are to be serious contenders for a second title in a row.
midfielder Tony Kroos: We won’t go home easily
By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- German midfielder Tony Kroos
produced one of the most dramatic moments of the 2018 World Cup
to date when he scored a 95th minute goal to give his
side a 2-1 win over Sweden and keep their hopes of qualifying
for the second round of the tournament very much alive.
A draw between
Germany and Sweden would not have mathematically knocked the
reigning Champions out of the tournament, but it would have
taken their destiny out of their hands and meant a draw between
Mexico and Sweden in the last group match would have put them on
the first plane home.
Now a win against
South Korea should be enough to see the Germans into the last
16, but Kroos thinks that will leave some people disappointed.
“I had the feeling
that a lot of people would be happy in Germany if we were
eliminated, but we are not going to make it so easy for them...
We will not be sent to the streets easily,” he said.
midfielder said sectors of the press were actually happier to
write about setbacks, in the wake of their opening game defeat
to Mexico, than to speak about success.
“It gives me the
feeling that it’s more fun to analyse or talk or write badly of
us,” he commented.
Kroos put his hand
up to accept the blame for Sweden’s opening goal in the game,
after he lost possession.
“Sweden’s first goal
is my fault, I assume the responsibility... When you touch the
ball 400 times per game, it’s normal that you can lose the ball
a couple of times,” he admitted.
The midfielder ended
the encounter with 117 passes completed out of the 128 that he