Saturday June 25, 2022
Germany enter break with 'a great feeling' after important Italy win
Published : 16 Jun 2022, 03:09
Germany's national team players started their holidays Wednesday with "a great feeling" and amid hope that a 5-2 win over Italy will set the tone for final World Cup preparations.
Tuesday's big win after four consecutive 1-1 draws, the last three in other Nations League games this month, ended first doubts about the team and their new coach Hansi Flick who had replaced Joachim Löw last year.
Players will only have a short holiday at the end of a long season, as the next campaign is also stretched out owing to the World Cup in Qatar at the unfamiliar time of November 21-December 18.
Final Nations League games in September against Hungary and in England will be the last tests ahead of the big event, and Germany will also qualify for next year's Nations League finals if they win both.
That would be an additional boost but for now Flick will not be deceived by Monday's result against the European champions who are facing a rebuild, even though he knew of the importance of the full three points.
"I have to give huge credit to the team. Fair play to produce a performance like that in the fourth game of this run. The team executed everything we asked of them. It was a stress test for us, as we needed a win following the three draws," he said.
"We’re looking forward to the rest of the journey on our way to the World Cup," he added, where former winners Spain, Japan and Costa Rica are Germany's group stage opponents.
But he also warned: "We will analyse the games and then do some adjustments in September, and we have to do that because not everything was good."
Flick and the players will hope that the game was not a one-off and it will be the performance from Tuesday that will set the tone for the upcoming tasks, and not the previous draws where the team was lacking especially in Hungary and Italy.
Germany want to return to the elite at the World Cup after a painful group stage exit as title holders in 2018, and last year's last 16 elimination at the Euros.
"If we play like we did today, a lot of teams would struggle against us. And if we’re as clinical up front as we were today, we’re on the right path," midfielder Ilkay Gündogan said.
Forward Thomas Müller struck a similar line, saying: "We have everything to be able to beat anyone on a good day."
Captain Manuel Neuer said the good showing came because "we believed in ourselves and were full of confidence."
Flick said the players can now go on holiday with "a great feeling" and to recharge their batteries for the demanding rest of the year.
"We need some distance first. It's important that you also switch off mentally, because everything then happens in quick succession, especially for those who play internationally," Flick said.