After 15 years in charge and the pinnacle of 2014 World Cup glory, Joachim Low ended his reign as head coach of Germany by apologizing and taking the blame for their exit from Euro 2020 at the hands of England.
Second-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane meant England’s journey continued with a quarter-final encounter with Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.
But for Germany, their campaign ended at Wembley after a first knockout loss to England in 55 years.
Germany had their chances, with Thomas Muller missing a one-on-one chance to equalise, but their exit from the Euros since 2004 prompted Low to apologize in his departing news conference on Tuesday.
“Disappointment runs very, very deeply. I’m sorry that we let our fans down and didn’t spark the excitement we wanted. I am responsible for our elimination, no if’s or buts,” said Low, who re-announced. March he will step down from the role.
Low led Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil seven years ago, but he has now handed the reins to former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick after ending his tenure on a poor note – falling in the 2018 World Cup group stage and then the last 16 Euros.
️ Joachim # Low: “It’s been 15 long years with many beautiful moments and, of course, some disappointments. The team and the players have a bright future ahead of them. Good luck to Hansi Flick, I wish him all the best. My heart continues to beat black, red and gold.” 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/q3cv1NHnmc
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 30, 2021
“It’s been 15 long years with many good moments and, of course, some disappointments,” added Low.
“The team and the players have a bright future ahead of them. Good luck to Hansi Flick, I wish him all the best. My heart keeps beating black, red and gold.
“I have kept so many moments and images in my heart over the years. Not just results, but time spent together. We went through a lot together, it was a moment you will never forget.”
‘Slightly damaged heritage’
Talk to Sky Sports News, German football expert Raphael Honigstein said the final years of Low’s tenure had “rather spoiled his legacy”.
Honigstein said: “I don’t think Wembley’s disappointment is not the same as winning the World Cup, but of course getting out in the last 16 is bad for Germany. Getting knocked out in the group stages in Russia was even worse. sad indictment for his last act.
“Over 15 years, the first 10 years were brilliant culminating in a World Cup victory, the last five years I think was a waste of time. It will be time to build a new Germany, to be much more cohesive, committed in decisions. He often wobbled between systems, formations, telling Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels he didn’t want him anymore then bringing him back.
“That kind of yo-yo attitude is reflected in the results. Uneven. That’s where regret comes in. I think he will realize, and the German FA probably, that he should have left much earlier – ideally in 2014, most recently 2016.
“He wanted to prove everyone wrong, in the end he didn’t, and that kind of ruined his legacy, but he will always be a World Cup winner and the coach who gave so many great performances in the first 10 years.”
‘You don’t put Can on when you’re 1-0 down’ – Where did he go wrong at Wembley
Honigstein on Germany’s 2-0 loss:
“As a coach you have to help your team succeed – I think Low creates more problems than he solves. Not only in this tournament but also in the last tournament in Russia.
“So a bad ending for his reign, and a case of what might have happened with a different setup and one or two different decisions in this tournament.
“Timo Werner did well, you want your strikers to take your chances but what he should have done worked in the first half, he went wide in defense and had one or two good situations.
“It’s hard to go into certain details and say it’s wrong. It’s more a case of a lot of accumulative decisions being added and things not quite right.
“One example, bringing on Emre Can when you are 1-0 down. Thomas Muller takes a free-kick with 20 minutes remaining. Things that shouldn’t happen in a well-organized team.
“Too much improv, too many unchecked boxes. It followed Germany. Individually I think this team is good enough to beat England, but you never feel it is working fully as a unit. That’s where England have a bit of an upper hand. a different idea of what they are trying to do, haven’t conceded a goal. There is a very clear and distinct identity and we don’t have it. That’s one of the main things missing from this German team.”
That Miss Muller…
Honigstein on Muller’s second-half chances:
“You have to take chances like that if you want to be successful. This is not an isolated moment, Germany have not scored in four of their last two major tournaments, they have not kept a clean sheet in these seven matches. There is not a single game without a clean sheet. It’s not performance if you want to go far.
“I really feel for Muller, he was desperate and published a sincere explanation, but Muller held the goal 40 yards in front of him, that was not his game. Of course you wish he did better, but for me. it almost symbolizes how Germany is not playing to their strengths.
“You don’t want Muller to spearhead a counter-attack, that’s not his game. Too many players are forced to play games that are not to their strengths. That moment crystallized for me.”