Germany continued its results crisis on Tuesday night in Paris, in a UEFA Nations League showdown with world champions France.
The team played far better than it had in months, yet the final score was a 2-1 defeat. This takes the slim opportunity to save themselves from relegation to League B out of their own hands.
German coach Joachim Löw made several changes to the starting eleven that had lost 3-0 to the Netherlands over the weekend. In doing so, he gave his side more youth as well as speed and width.
That worked out well in terms of Germany dominating the play in the first half. But they lacked a clear number nine, who is a ruthless finisher in the opponents’ area. (To be fair, the only natural striker they had in the entire squad was international newcomer Mark Uth, who has not scored in ages.)
So, it had to be a harsh penalty for an alleged handball in the box, that Toni Kroos barely converted, which gave the DFB team the first goal in the match and in its Nations League campaign!
The Germans had further chances in the first forty-five minutes, but the finishes (if one could call them that), continued to be abysmal.
The second half belonged almost entirely to France. They took advantage of that with a brace from Antoine Griezmann. The equalizer came from a header, the 2-1 winner from a totally wrongly given penalty, ten minutes before the end.
Many in the German press and the public will now continue to demand Löw’s ouster as coach. Maybe justifiably so. But this particular defeat was not his fault. He and his staff showed their ability to change things, even if this time it did not quite work. They were away to the world champions after all.
Lastly, let me ask the anti-Löw crowd a simple question. Who should replace him? (No, Jupp Heynckes will not return from retirement again, especially not for Germany!)