Löw: "Kroos has an extremely important role to play" - 16 August 2018
Joachim Löw has welcomed Toni Kroos' decision to continue playing for the Germany national team. "I had several fairly long and constructive conversations with Toni, and am happy he has made an informed decision to continue playing for Die Mannschaft as we head towards Euro 2020," says the coach. "With his experience, class and personality, he's clearly a key player who has an extremely important role to play in our future plans, both on and off the pitch."
"Toni has more than earned this accolade [German player of the year]," says Löw. "The award signifies and recognises his performances for Real Madrid above all. Winning the Champions League for the third time in a row is unbelievable and extraordinary, and will remain that way for quite some time."
Although talk of Jogi's 'disappearance' seemed not to take into account he is never seen much during the latter part of July and the month of August, this was probably one of the most highly-anticipated DFB press conferences of all time. As it covered both the World Cup failure and looked ahead to the inaugural Nations League, I have split it into two parts, the World Cup post-mortem on this page, and the announcement of the new squad on my France page.
Dressing again in all-black, Jogi began speaking in a press conference which was to last for 110 minutes and was shared with Oliver Bierhoff.
He firstly began on Germany's disastrous World Cup speaking of the immediate aftermath of the Group stage exit "It was a huge blow for myself and all involved. You can't gloss it over. We underperformed hugely in Russia and got punished for it. The first three days after being knocked were full of frustration for me, as well as a lot of gloom, huge disappointment and much anger. On the fourth day, I met with Oliver Bierhoff to exchange opinions. At the end of the day, the most important thing for us was, after 14 years, to relay the foundations that promote good motivation, energy and strength. We did not have this in Russia and it will help get the ship back on course again."
Jogi explained why they had taken their time in making any analysis public:
"We consciously took our time so that we could have a chat with a few important players once they were back from holiday. We waited for the World Cup to end before we looked at our trends. We used all possible data and new findings from the tournaments in 2010 and 2014 to be able to properly compare. We counter attacked more in 2010. In 2018, we became more of a team that concentrated on possession and tried to completely dominate in order to win. The data showed that in 2014, we had the perfect balance."
"At the World Cup, there was less focus on defence. Counter attacking was more important and more goals were scored from counter attacks. Set pieces also played a bigger role at this World Cup, while possession football is still important at major tournaments. However, teams must change their playing style in the knock-out stages. My biggest overestimation was that we would reach at least the next round by dominating games. It was almost like arrogance, I wanted to persist with this tactic for too long and I kept trying to perfect it. I did not set up the team to play a certain way, whereas in 2014, there was a balance."
"We made less sprints this time, which was also the case at previous tournaments. We had good running statistics but we did not have the intensity. We played less direct and slower football than in 2010 or 2014. We took too long with our passing, which gave the opponents the opportunity to reorganise themselves."
"We also had a big problem with creating chances. We had 24 attempts per game, which resulted in 30 more shots per goal than in 2014, which is a record high. We can learn from the statistics to adapt our game in the future."
We must adapt our game in order to be more flexible and less predictable. If you want to win a tournament, you need enthusiasm and have in your fire belly, which should increase in each round you progress. We failed to provide important stimuli for the players. We only had a small flame, when my players usually have a fire. It would have obviously been my job to demand more from them. When we can get the right balance by reigniting the fire and passion, we will have strong foundations for the team.
Needless to say, Jogi's first comments on Mesut Özil's resignation were one of the most awaited parts of the press conference. Jogi appeared genuinely sad as he spoke. [video]
Löw said he had failed in his attempts to contact the Arsenal player and he had been notified of Özil's retirement by the player's adviser. "He has not called me. In the past that was the case when players retired [from the national team]." He added that after the adviser's call, he had called and messaged the player without reply."His advisor called me to say that Mesut has given his explanation and will retire from the national team. I would normally call the player myself but Mesut decided on a different route. He still has not called me to this day. I tried contacting him for two weeks but I have to now accept the situation as it is. I had underestimated the incident with the photos (with Turkish President Erdogan). The saga was very stressful but that is no excuse. Mesut has exaggerated the suggestions of racism within the DFB. I have never detected anything of the sort in my whole time working with the DFB. There have never been any racist messages in our team." - from dfb.de's summary of the press conference
[As Mesut Özil's statement was in English I have read it myself thoroughly several times and have no belief that at any point in it did he personally infer there was racism within the actual national team set-up itself (i.e. under Jogi's remit). However there has been, since Mesut's statement, a considerable outburst in the public domain of those who have falsely extended Mesut's claims to the national team and Jogi himself, including the abhorrent suggestion that his team selections may be racially motitivated. I thus feel he had every right to comment as he did.]
Joachim Löw also disputed the rumours circulating that the squad had divided itself into 'cliques'. He said that after talking to senior players, he had not identified the problems of a big clique, or major issues that have not been resolved. Nevertheless, he said, they did not manage to develop the incredible team spirit they had in 2010 and 2014.
Joachim Löw, Germany begin difficult task of resetting after tumultuous summer - analysis from Raphael Honigstein
While many may not agree with every single word Jogi said, and everyone will have a different opinion on the reasons for the failure in Russia, what cannot be disputed is the courage that it takes to stand in front of the whole world, a world so quick to turn, criticise and condemn, and admit your mistakes.
But there was time for a smile!
The following weekend, 2 September 2018, Bild-am-Sonntag asked body language and facial expression expert,Dirk W Eilert to carry out a detailed analysis of Joachim Löw at the press conference. It was observed that Jogi showed anger leading to energy, not pure depression or disappointment - showing why he decided to carry out, the latter resulting in a resignation.
The full text from the article can be found in my Archive Interview Blog.
Photograph credit to Rick W Eilert Twitter account.
With thanks to everyone, especially Lucille, Silke, Susanne and Raheleh.
Last updated 30 August 2018