Hansi Flick knows Germany are now “under pressure” but would not accept their focus on the OneLove campaign as an excuse for their defeat to Japan.
Germany lost 2-1 at Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday in a match that appeared set to be second billing to a demonstration ahead of kick-off prior to the second-half turnaround.
Die Mannschaft captain Manuel Neuer did not go through with wearing the OneLove armband, which promotes “inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind”, with those planning to wear the armband having been threatened with sanctions by FIFA.
Instead, Germany’s players lined up for their pre-match team photo with their hands over their mouths, saying FIFA was “denying us a voice”.
Much of the attention around the match was on this even after Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring from the penalty spot, but goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano dealt Germany a stunning defeat.
Asked if their protest had contributed to a below-par display, Flick replied: “No. We’re not looking for excuses. That would be too easy.
“I said it ahead of the game, Japan have a strong team, great players with good technique, good tactics. They are well trained and they showed their strengths today. They played very efficiently.
“I would have liked to see that from my team, but we can’t make excuses. We made too many mistakes.”
These errors were “mistakes we should never make in a World Cup”, Flick said, with the second goal that condemned them to “a great disappointment” particularly sloppy.
3.3 – Germany lost 1-2 to Japan despite a tally of 3.3 Expected Goals – since Opta collects this data (1966 onwards), no team has ever lost a World Cup match with such a high xG value. Wasteful. #GERJPN #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/eGpBO0hFU7
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) November 23, 2022
Germany certainly cannot afford to be distracted as they head into their second match against Spain, as Flick added: “We’ll analyse this game as we always do.
“Spain is a different team, it is not Japan, and we’ll have a different game plan.
“Of course, now with this defeat, we are under pressure, no question, and we’re to blame. We can only blame ourselves.
“We have to make sure we can come out of this. We need to be courageous and decisive; we need the aggression in the game that’s necessary at the World Cup.”
Japan may now be in a stronger position, but they are likewise staying focused on their second group game versus Costa Rica.
“This is a big win, but it is not the end, obviously, so we were not going to get too happy or too sad,” said coach Hajime Moriyasu. “We’re going to prepare for the next game.”
Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda added: “We would like to go to the quarter-final. That is our goal.
“This is our first step, and we are very pleased to have won. But our next game is against Costa Rica and we have to do our best again.”