AL KHOR, Qatar: Germany have enough quality to become a dominant force in football again but one thing that is currently missing is their strength in defending which helped them win four World Cups, coach Hansi Flick said after they were knocked out on Thursday (Dec 1).
Germany finally won their first group game at the tournament in Qatar with a chaotic 4-2 victory over Costa Rica. But 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.
When asked what Germany needed to be considered among the world's elite again, Flick said they needed to take a leaf out of Spain's book after their European counterparts built a young team with a strong tactical foundation.
"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."
Flick also refused to blame Spain for losing to Japan, who topped the group with two wins over the European sides.
"I don't care about different teams, it's all up to us. If you look at the matches and number of goals scored, it's our fault," he said.
"I'm convinced we had chances in the match against Spain. You have to convert your chances. It would have been a different situation today."
While Germany struggled as a whole, there was life in and around the final third thanks to the energetic Jamal Musiala, who was at the heart of most of their attacks.
"It's difficult to single out one player but it's unfortunate such a player like Jamal cannot play anymore in the tournament," he said.
"He's fantastic, his skills, his one-on-ones, he's outstanding. In the next couple of years, we do have talent (coming through), we are headed in the right direction, but we really have to focus on the training methods.
"Jamal has been trained in England, not Germany. Kai Havertz also brought his A-game. We also have other young players among us and we need to draw the right conclusions."
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