Before I set down to write my in depth analysis and churn out a post-match video piece, I will share some stream of consciousness stuff here. A lot of the time, I post a reply to somebody else, and just start typing. Whatever is in my head started flowing through my fingers onto the keyboard.
In a response to a comment made by a fellow fan, a guy who is as passionate as I am of both FC Bayern and the Mannschaft, I wrote the following – with a few edits. I am not going to go back to my ultra-critical self on the back of one poor result, but it has been building for a while.
Flaccid, insipid, clueless
Today’s defeat against Mexico. Let us get the basics out of the way first. Mexico were great. They juggled their game plan, even changed it, and combined great disruptive play with focussed and sprightly counterattacking. I will say it again. They were brilliant. El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio, and his team, had pulled off a major coup. Hats off to them.
By the same token, Germany were flaccid, insipid, clueless and as sharp as a rusty spoon. An midfield that was absent, a defence that could very easily have conceded half a dozen, and an attack that had clearly misplaced its compass.
The problem is Jogi Löw. The thing is, up until 2014 I used to be a pretty harsh critic. Maybe too critical, when I go back to some of the stuff I wrote after the Italy game at Euro 2012 and the heart attack inducing Algeria game in 2014.
After the triumph in Rio in 2014, I decided to cut Jogi some slack. In fact, I made this something of a mission. For all of the criticism, the guy had gone and won the World Cup. I understood that I could never really become a massive fan, but happily put my critic’s hat back in the bottom drawer.
This turned into complacency on my part as a pundit, in that I sort of bought into the “in Jogi we trust” thing. I could see that things were starting to wobble and creak in some of the latter qualifiers, such as the otherwise forgettable 2-1 win in the Czech Republic – the game where the crappy show on the pitch was outweighed by the nonsense off it.
Sense of delusion
As we went 10/10 in the qualifiers, I dismissed the issues bubbling in my head about the team starting to lose focus, and the coach’s failure to adapt to what was a growing set of issues.
Then came the friendlies against England and France. One where we were dominated by a young and largely inexperienced side, and the other where we escaped defeat with a last gasp equaliser. At the time, the team had gone 20-odd games and almost two years unbeaten. So yes, I again dismissed the issues that might have triggered me pre-2014.
Then came the Spain game, where we just about did enough to get a draw at home. Again, I dismissed he problems with the defence and the growing inability to produce in front of goal. This was followed by the defeat against Brazil. “It’s Brazil. They’re pretty good” was my first thought. Followed by “it’s only a friendly”.
Yes, that old chestnut, which only helped fuel the sense of delusion.
Meanwhile, the issues were getting worse. Not only was the defence wobblier than ever, the inability to create and finish chances was getting worse. Then there was the Erdoğan shitstorm, which couldn’t have helped matters. The vibes I got were in stark contrast to 2014, even with Bastian Schweinsteiger being made to share a room with Kevin Großkreutz in the Brazilian jungle.
South of denial
Then came the Austria defeat. It was utterly shambolic, but again I cast my doubts aside by repeating the “it was only a friendly” mantra. I did make a point of targeting where we needed to improve, but I put my trust in Jogi to get it right. The coach continued to stick to his guns; while before I might have described this as bloody minded intransigence – the work of the Maharishi Jogi – I chose to back his decisions. 2014 and all that, right?
Hot on the tail of the soggy display in Klagenfurt was the utterly dire final home sendoff against Saudi Arabia. After a decent enough start, it was a case of more of the same old Scheisse. It is only by the Saudis being utterly dreadful that we were not coming into this tournament on the back of six games without a win. It could – and should – have finished 2-2.
But still I chose the path of denial. In fact, I was so far south of denial that I felt a little like John Hanning Speke.
Today, the chickens came to roost. Not just roost, but peck sharply at my eyes. Germany played a half decent team in a major competition, and were shown up. Badly. To the point where the team looked like rank amateurs, and where players were left making their own post-match comments that can be interpreted as being borderline critical of the coach.
What comes next? I will discuss that in my next, and perhaps more structured, analysis. Right now I will just let my stream of consciousness take me to wherever it leads. Which is back at Euro 2012, when I was crying into my post-Balotelli beer.