Toni Kroos pointed the finger at his Germany team-mates following defeat by Brazil, but coach Joachim Loew insists his team will be ready in time for the World Cup.
Kroos is the latest World Cup winner to berate the Germans for a below-par performance after Gabriel Jesus’ first-half winner sealed Brazil’s 1-0 friendly win on Tuesday in Berlin
After Jerome Boateng fumed that “everything” needed improving following Friday’s 1-1 draw with Spain, Kroos again put the boot in.
“We had some players on the pitch who had the opportunity to show themselves at this level – they did not take it,” Kroos complained.
“We allowed ourselves to be bossed around and then we saw that we’re not as good as we’re always told we are — and perhaps some of us think we are. “That was clearly not enough from many of us.”
The home defeat cost the world champions their 22-match unbeaten run dating back to the Euro 2016 semi-final defeat to hosts France. – Wasted chances – Given preceding draws against England, France and Spain, Germany have failed to win any of their last four games – a worrying state of affairs with a World Cup looming. Brazil fielded a near full-strength team, missing only Neymar, while Loew opted to give fringe players a chance they did not take. Only two World Cup winners — Kroos and stand-in captain Boateng — started against the Selecao.
Manchester City’s defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and winger Leroy Sane failed to impress as did Julian Draxler in the attacking midfield. Gundogan did not contradict Kroos, saying: “That’s a warning sign for us, which was also the mood in the dressing room”.
Draxler added: “Toni is right to ring the alarm bells, but I do not think it’s all black for the World Cup.” Loew agrees. Germany’s World Cup-winning coach had a long list of complaints: too much ball lost against Brazil, poor positioning, weak counter-attacks and challenges.
Even the body language was wrong, said Loew, and when Jesus scored the winner on 38 minutes “we were bad in every department”. However, the German boss is not hitting the panic button with work to be done before their first World Cup match against Mexico on June 17. – No egos – “No, I’m hardly worried about anything because I know that the team is capable of something completely different,” assured Loew.
“You never want to lose a game like that, but I can live with the result and we have to work very hard on three or four points.” There are no more games until Loew names his World Cup squad on May 15 before warm-up friendlies against Austria on June 2 and Saudi Arabia six days later. Loew says the fine-tuning for the World Cup defence in Russia will come at their South Tyrol training camp at the end of May.
“It’s clear to us that the training camp is important to train for 14 days at a stretch, to be able to grind in some things,” said he added.
However, Loew warned his World Cup-winning stars that no one is guaranteed a place in his squad for Russia 2018. “Everyone has to be ready when the moment comes — egos are less in demand.”