OLIVER HOLT: It may be hard to accept that Germany are also-rans, but the evidence is mounting
OLIVER HOLT: Antonio Rudiger froze in SHOCK having been bluffing not long before…it may be hard to accept that Germany has become rans too, but the evidence is mounting.
When the final whistle blew, Antonio Rudiger, the defender many of us have come to associate with modern German indomitability, froze in place inside the Japan box.
The Japan players cheered around him and still Rudiger stood there, frozen in shock at what had happened. Not long before, he had been galloping down the wing, flaunting as he served a ball, making a play of how easy it had been for him to outplay his Japanese opponent. Now, he didn’t feel so confident. Now, Germany had become the second victim of giant-slaying in as many days.
Perhaps the impact of their loss to this accomplished Japan team didn’t have the same seismic feel as Argentina’s loss to Saudi Arabia the day before. Even if the introduction of Mario Gotze as a second-half substitute was a reminder of past glories, Germany is not what it used to be. They didn’t arrive here as one of the favourites, and when they left for Doha last week, it was against a background of indifference.
Germany were stunned on Wednesday as Japan came from behind to beat them 2-1
Antonio Rudiger looked surprised as the Japan players celebrated their latest winner.
The Real Madrid defender had been bragging minutes before his team imploded
This, don’t forget, is a team from Germany who were knocked out relatively easily by England at the Euros last year.
At the last World Cup, Germany were knocked out at the opening stage for the first time since 1938. They also lost their opener four years ago to Mexico, before losing to South Korea.
Those of us brought up on the success of West Germany and Germany, often at England’s expense, may find it hard to accept that they are now Rans as well, but the evidence is mounting. For much of this match, they looked bored, flat, and tired. They relied too much on Jamal Musiala’s quick feet and brilliant brain, but when his improvisation dried up, they offered very little.
The result leaves Germany’s chances of reaching the round of 16 on a thread
It is a team in decline, struggling to surpass its success at the 2014 World Cup.
Germany dominated possession but ran out of ideas as the game progressed. It’s a sign, perhaps, of how they’re struggling to overcome past greatness that Thomas Muller remains a stalwart of the 33-year-old team and Gotze, who has never quite recovered the form he showed at the 2014 World Cup, is still earring. around the fringes.
At least Germany got a win, even if it was before kick-off.
In contrast to England’s weak response to FIFA’s threat of sporting sanctions if Harry Kane wore a OneLove armband, Germany’s players posed for a pre-match photo with their hands over their mouths to indicate they had been gagged.
Their protest will have shamed the petty tyrants at FIFA, who pay lip service to diversity but have done everything they can to stifle it at this tournament.