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Joachim Low ‘sorry’ as Germany head coach bids farewell after Euro 2020 exit | Analysis.
A sad final act – Joachim Low leaves his role as Germany head coach after 15 years; he announced in March he would step down after Euro 2020, with Monday’s last-16 defeat to England proving to be his final game in charge; Raphael Honigstein analyses his reign and where it went wrong at Wembley
After 15 years in charge and the high of World Cup glory in 2014, Joachim Low ended his reign as Germany head coach by apologising and shouldering the blame for their Euro 2020 exit at the hands of England.
Second-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane meant England’s journey continues with a quarter-final meeting with Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.
But for Germany, their campaign ended at Wembley after a first knockout defeat to England in 55 years.
Germany had their chances, with Thomas Muller notably missing a one-on-one opportunity to equalise, but their earliest Euros exit since 2004 prompted Low to apologise in his departing press conference on Tuesday.
“The disappointment runs very, very deep. I’m sorry that we disappointed our fans and didn’t spark the kind of excitement we wanted. I take responsibility for our elimination, no ifs or buts,” said Low, who announced back in March he would step down from the role.
Low guided Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil seven years ago, but he now hands the reins to ex-Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick after ending his tenure on a sour note – falling at the group stage of the 2018 World Cup and then the last 16 of the Euros.
It’s been 15 long years with a lot of wonderful moments and, of course, some disappointments,” Low added. The team and the players have a bright future ahead of them. Good luck to Hansi Flick, I wish him all the best. My heart continues to beat black, red and gold.
“I’ve saved so many moments and images in my heart over the years. Not just the results, but the time spent together. We went through so much together, those are the moments you never forget .”
According to German football expert Raphael Honigstein he said that the final years of Low’s spell “somewhat damages his legacy”.
Honigstein said: “I don’t think the disappointment of Wembley is quite the same as winning the World Cup, but of course going out in the last 16 is poor for Germany. Going out in the group stages in Russia is worse. It’s a sad indictment of his final act.
“Over 15 years, the first 10 years were brilliant culminating in that World Cup win, the last five I think were time-wasted. That would have been a time to build a new Germany, to be a lot more cohesive, committed in decisions.
He wavered a lot between systems, formations, telling Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels he didn’t want them anymore then bringing them back.
That kind of yo-yo attitude was mirrored in the results. Uneven. That’s where the regret comes in. I think he will realise, and the German FA maybe, that he should have walked away a lot earlier – ideally in 2014, the latest 2016.
“He wanted to prove everyone wrong, in the end he didn’t, and that somewhat damages his legacy, but he will still always be the World Cup winner and the coach that delivered so many amazing performances in the first 10 years.”
It’s difficult to point at any particular detail and say that was wrong. It’s more a case of a lot of accumulative decisions adding up and things that were not quite right.
“One example, bringing Emre Can on when you’re 1-0 down. Thomas Muller taking a free-kick with 20 minutes to go. Things that really shouldn’t happen in a well-organised team.
“Too much improvisation, too many boxes unticked. That caught up with Germany. Individually I think this team was good enough to beat England, but you never got the sense it worked fully as a unit.
That’s where England were slightly superior. They had a distinct idea of what they were trying to do, are yet to concede a goal. There’s a very clear, defined identity and we didn’t have that. That was one of the key things missing for this Germany team.”
Honigstein on Muller’s second-half chance:
“You have to take a chance like that if you want to succeed. It’s not really an isolated moment, Germany have not scored a goal in four of their last two major tournaments, they haven’t kept a clean sheet in seven of these games. Not a single game without a clean sheet. That’s not the kind of performance if you want to go far.
“I really feel for Muller, he was distraught and published a heartfelt explanation, but Muller bearing down on goal with 40 metres in front of him, it’s not really his game. Of course you’d expect him to do better, but to me it almost symbolises how Germany weren’t playing to their strengths.