Germany 1-2 Japan: Quickfire Thoughts
Germany failed to win their opening fixture for the second consecutive World Cup.
A 2:1 defeat to Japan followed by Spain’s 7:0 thrashing of Costa Rica means Die Mannschaft’s World Cup dreams rest entirely on how they perform on Sunday.
Here are my quickfire thoughts following the defeat.
The Striker Discussion
Germany had 22 shots in their World Cup defeat to Japan.
At the time of writing, 20 sides have faced off in this year’s competition, and only France has taken one more shot than the Germans.
The reigning World Champions made good on their output with 4 goals in their opening fixture, but the fact that Flick’s eleven needed a penalty to finally find a way past just further reiterates the issues surrounding this squad’s lack of a focal number nine.
Kai Havertz took up that role on Wednesday, but other than an off-sides tap-in early in the first half, the Chelsea forward was non-existent for much of the proceedings.
Serge Gnabry is an option to potentially move up top then, but he too looked out of sorts. Whereas Havertz rarely found shooting opportunities, Gnabry routinely got into them but wasted these chances over and over again.
Only Kylian Mbappé has taken more than Gnabry’s 6 shots in this year’s competition, while even the French superstar hasn’t taken more than Gnabry’s competition-high 3 shots on target.
Whether it is Gnabry or Havertz, or one of Germany’s more traditional number nines in the form of Niclas Füllkrug and Youssoufa Moukoko, something needs to change if Germany is to find a way past a Spanish defense that didn’t concede a single shot - on or off target - against a helpless Costa Rica.
A Collection of Errors
Nico Schlotterbeck is rightfully getting criticized for his abject showing on Wednesday.
Not only the final goal, but his general performance was error-prone and unconvincing.
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