Jurgen Klinsmann fears Germany need a ‘miracle’ to make it out of their World Cup group after their shock defeat to Japan.
Having crashed out of the 2018 World Cup before the knockout stages, Germany are staring down the barrel of early elimination once again with a daunting clash with Spain up next.
Hansi Flick’s men will need a positive result on Sunday night after their task was made much harder by Japan’s late turnaround on Wednesday.
Leading through Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half penalty, Germany gave up a dominant position to concede goals by Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano to lose 2-1.
Former Germany striker Klinsmann told BBC Sport: ‘Obviously it is hugely, hugely disappointing for us Germans. The overall performance was just not good enough, it was just not what we expected after the disaster in Russia when they went home in the group stage.
‘Our hope was that they showed the right spirit, that they showed the right tempo, the right energy and even when they were leading 1-0, I never had the feeling they would put it up into a higher gear.
‘England did [against Iran] – they scored one goal, they wanted the second, third, fourth one…. They were happy with the first one and they thought ‘we’re going to cruise’ but Japan punished them.
‘Japan played really poor in the first half but we let them back into the game. They were feisty, full of energy and they deserved to win.
‘But now Germany have their backs against the wall and if they are not pulling out a miracle against Spain and beat Spain, they might go home.’
Spain are in ominous form having thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game and Germany will need a vastly improved performance on Sunday to beat them and keep their World Cup campaign alive.
The performance against Japan was pilloried in the German press, who described it as a ‘debacle’ and pointed out similarities with their loss to Mexico in the first group game in 2018.
Despite beating Sweden, a 2-0 loss to South Korea saw Die Mannschaft finish bottom of their group in Russia.
The tabloid Bild gave Chelsea’s Kai Havertz and defensive trio Niklas Sule, David Raum and Nico Schlotterbeck a rating of ‘5’ – their second lowest – for their performances against Japan.
Coach Flick was also given a score of ‘5’ for getting his game plan wrong. – dailymail.