Despite the 2-0 semifinal defeat against France, Germany were the team setting trends in world football at Euro 2016.
It might still be an option for football teams to pin all their hopes on counter attacking and wait for a lucky moment. But such a strategy is only a minor challenge for teams like Germany or their predecessor Spain. Germany at Euro 2016 were Spain reloaded plus an update.
Head-coach Joachim Loew stands for progressive thinking as his squad is, similar to Spain, dominating a game with a high amount of possession and quality passing. But future footballs will far more deliver additional changes like midfielders continually changing positions and there will be new variations up front. Left wing, right wing, center forward will not be what they were before. Players up front will have to be more flexible.
A football team on world class level in the future will have to be able to change tactics as well – and within a game. The entire team has to close down space in midfield and at the back, beginning right after the attacking line.
At the same time dominant teams will have to find space up front. Doing that requires a lot of patience. It won’ t be one or two stars doing the job, but the entire team has to move around the pitch like in a chess game.
The German-Spanish system has its weaknesses if a team playing that style can’ t manage to deliver efficiency up front, namely to score goals. At the same time it contains a certain amount of risks as the defense has to be extremely concentrated.
The Germans got into trouble when their central defenders Jerome Boateng (injury/Bayern Munich) and Mats Hummels (yellow card ban/Bayern Munich) were sidelined as both are a vital to them when starting attacks. Without the wide passes of the two, often going to the left or right flank up front, options shrink as the game then lacks width.
Players like Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben, quick along the flanks, with an outstanding ability in man-to-man-duels would enrich the German game. For Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich) Euro 2016 was far from paradise. After Mario Gomez (Besiktas Istanbul) was sidelined due to injury, the Germans ran out of options for a man in the box.
Not to be efficient up front was one of the weaknesses of the German team in France. As Boateng, their defensive leader, had to go off injured after an hour, the doors suddenly opened for a French team that was far from convincing before.
Loew predicted that “details” would decide a duel between two guns like France and Germany. In the Euro 2016 semi-final, it was Bastian Schweinsteiger’ s (Manchester United) stupid handball that handed the French the lead after having only few chances before.
The Germans could not manage to be as dangerous as needed up front, despite their more mature system. Having to replace key figures like Hummels, Gomez, Boateng and Sami Khedira (Juventus Turin) in the end was too much for the 2014 World Champion.
The youngest team of the tournament was eliminated and this after only letting in one goal until the semi-final. At the same time German football lacks players that can decide a game up front, meaning strikers with the power to finish off chances.
“We’ re disappointed of course. It might sound strange but we today played our best game at the tournament. We dominated the game and France had almost no chances,” Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) said.
Like Kroos, German keeper Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) was disappointed. “It’ s disappointing because we were the better team for most of the time. It is extremely disappointing because we played well,” Neuer said.
Mesut Oezil (Arsenal), once again in an important game, lacked the ability to stamp his authority on the game. Loew however refused to replace Oezil even though he must have been disappointed after Oezil’ s bad performance in such an important game like the semifinal against the tournament hosts.
Alongside Oezil, Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich) was one of the biggest disappointments in the German squad. It might be something to think about for Loew if he in the future should give some of his tragic figures a break in between to give them the opportunity to recover mentally. Mueller and Oezil at Euro 2016 were candidates for a rest.
Loew’ s contract runs until 2018 when the next World Cup takes place in Russia. The German association in the background is trying to convince Loew to extend his contract beyond 2018.
Despite the defeat against France, Loew’ s record is impressive. The 56-year-old has either made it into the final or at least reached the semifinal ever since he took over the job as a head-coach from Juergen Klinsmann after the 2006 World Cup.
“Congratulations to my team. We failed to score a goal, but when I consider what the team gave in this match, then I’ m proud of it. We ran the game. We took a lot of risks, we hit the post, we had several good chances. If you take a lot of risk, you risk losing a game. After all we had a good tournament,” Loew said. Enditem