Germany coach Hansi Flick said on Saturday that the German national team is playing its second match in Group E of the World Cup against Spain on Sunday knowing that it is similar to the final match, where his team faces the possibility of being eliminated if it loses again.
Asked if the four-time world champions were still the mighty side of the tournament in the past as they face the possibility of their second exit early in the World Cup, he said Sunday’s match would determine Germany’s reputation.
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“This will be answered on Sunday. Maybe we have another answer to this question, the correct answer,” Flick told a news conference.
Germany kicked off their World Cup campaign with a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan on Wednesday after taking a 1-0 lead after a dominant first half.
But they crumbled inexplicably after the break and let Japan score twice late in the game to snatch the win and join Spain on three points.
The Germans suffered their first championship in 80 years when they were knocked out in the first round at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They were also eliminated in the knockout stage at Euro 2020.
“The last two tournaments have not been like that [good]Flick said “We want to avoid a repeat of this. Focus on focus. This is our first World Cup final and that’s what it’s about – to avoid a repeat of that.”
Flick will have to wait for the last training session to see if winger Leroy Sane, who has been struggling with an injury, will be fit to play on Sunday.
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“We have to wait for the final training and then we can say more [about Sane]“It’s good news that he can train,” he said. “Our medics have done a lot of good work and we’ll see how the training goes.”
While an injury to Sane, who missed his first game, may be a concern for the coach, a much bigger problem is getting the players to focus on the game and put Japan’s loss behind them.
Flick himself appeared in the last pre-match press conference and not, as usual, with one player, saying they all need to stay at their training base in northern Qatar to focus on the match.
“The focus for me is football,” Flick said. “I’m convinced of the idea of how we want to play. If we don’t go 100%, we give the opposition space. We did that against Japan. Such a defeat and how it happened is very bitter because it could have been avoided.”
“But we will continue to go our way because we believe in the quality of the team and they can do the things we want to do. We have the courage and belief to go into the game.”