Thomas Muller has hinted at international retirement after Germany crashed out of the FIFA World Cup.
“If that was my last game for Germany, a few words to the German fans: It was a tremendous pleasure. Thank you very much,” Muller was quoted by Bulli News.
“I always tried to show heart on the pitch. Sometimes there were tears of joy, sometimes pain. I did it with love. I need to think about everything else now.”
Germany have now been knocked out of both World Cups since their 2014 triumph. Despite a 4-2 win against Costa Rica at Al Bayt Stadium, Japan’s 2-1 victory against Spain in Doha ended Germany’s hopes of qualifying from Group E.
“It’s an absolute catastrophe. It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough [if Spain hadn’t lost to Japan]. It’s a feeling of powerlessness. If that was my last game for Germany, it has been a tremendous pleasure, thank you very much,” said Muller as quoted by ESPN.
Flick calls for Germany reboot
Hansi Flick has asked for a “reboot” follwing Germany’s FIFA World Cup exit in the group stage despite a 4-2 victory against Costa Rica.
Japan’s shock upset over Spain saw Flick’s side finish third on goal difference and exit the tournament in the first round — just as they did in 2018.
“We do have players with top clubs and we do have the quality. For the future of German football, we need to train differently,” Flick told reporters.
“For years we’ve been talking about new goalkeepers and wingbacks… but what was always good was that we defended well. We need the basics (to be right).
“Spain are good at training young players, they know their tactics very well. In the next 10 years, we need to focus on the new generation of footballers.”
Germany scored only two goals before coming into the final group game and although Flick did not want to “look for excuses”, he admitted one of the reasons for their early exit was a lack of efficiency in front of goal.
“I think against Spain we had a compact defence but it goes without saying you also have to have automatisms. We didn’t have time to train, but it isn’t due to that,” Flick added.
“It would have been good to win against Spain, outrun the opponent and also reward ourselves with more goals – that would have been ideal. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do so.
“We fulfilled our duty today with a victory but the result could have been better.”
Enrique on Spain’s performance
Luis Enrique admitted that he would have had a “heart attack” after Spain’s incredible World Cup scare.
Japan pulled off a major shock and Spain had a major let-off because they were heading out with Germany for three minutes during a topsy turvy night in Group E.
Spain eventually went through on goal difference after Germany beat Costa Rica but Enrique admitted he was blissfully unaware that his side were on their way out.
Spain boss Enrique said: “We were knocked out? I didn’t know this. Why? I was paying attention to my match. I am not happy because we were defeated. Were we knocked out? If I found that out I would have had a heart attack.”
Enrique also questioned Japan’s winning goal which stood despite the ball appearing to go out of play but VAR allowed Ao Tanaka’s winner to stand.
Enrique added: “Images must be wrong or fabricated? I saw an image and said that picture can’t be true. I have nothing else to say. I have full respect. I knew something was wrong asVAR was taking so long.”