Less than a year ago, in November 2020, the four-time world champion slipped into a 6-0 debacle in Spain. But that was far from the low point of the German national soccer team in the era of Joachim Löw, which was drawing to a close. This was followed by a historic and possibly much more embarrassing home defeat against North Macedonia in the World Cup qualification (1: 2), followed by a more than bumpy and largely lackluster (home) EM, which ended very early on with the knockout round against England, but also very deservedly came to an end.
But how quickly things can change in Germany was already shown by the following autumn football season, which proved to be true of the saying about the new brooms, which are known to be better at sweeping. Neo-national coach Hansi Flick brought a breath of fresh air to the dusty troop and thus the lurching German steamer back on course faster than expected. And since Monday, the DFB selection has also been the first qualified team for the World Cup finals in Qatar – thanks to a 4-0 rematch success in Skopje.
Even if the outdated and tired-looking team from Austria’s EM group opponents (3: 1) was not a real indicator of where the Flick troop really was, in North Macedonia pride over the premiere ticket to the World Cup finals prevailed. And there the world champion from 2014 should (be able to) play for the title again after seven lean years. “The quality of our players, if you look at where they play, you just have to say that they also have the quality to hold their own against Italy, Spain, France and Belgium. I’m very confident,” said Flick immediately after Match tight.
At the same time, the world record-breaking title collector with FC Bayern (7 trophies in 18 months) knows that his moderately rejuvenated and tactically adapted team still needs a lot of development work, after the development work can now obviously be considered completed after the failures mentioned above . “We have to develop up to the World Cup. I don’t know how far we will go then. But I definitely know that with this mentality a lot can be achieved,” said the Löw successor, who made his debut after five wins and a goal difference of 18 : 1 can be described as brilliantly successful.
However, DFB director Oliver Bierhoff called for a realistic classification of what has been achieved. “You don’t need to overestimate the result in the group,” he said in view of the internationally not really first class opponents in Pool J. In the 2-1 win against Romania, Germany had recently struggled, including the 2-0 against Liechtenstein at the start of the flick was anything but a brilliant number.
The fact that a caliber is already waiting in the preliminary round at the World Cup finals in the desert emirate (November 21 to December 18, 2022) should be almost certain. Since Fifa is likely to use the world rankings as an essential criterion for the pot division, there would probably only be one place in pot two for the DFB-Elf. Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Italy, Argentina and Portugal – and host Qatar – would currently be set.
Orange on course for the World Cup
The Dutch are also on course for the desert in Group G: After beating Gibraltar 6-0, the 2014 World Cup third-placed lead the pool with two points and a significantly better goal difference in front of the Norwegians. If the Oranje win the next game in Montenegro, the Norskers – on Monday without Erling Haaland 2-0 winners against the Montenegrins – need an away win in Rotterdam on the last matchday in order to be able to buy the direct ticket; for the Turks, however, it’s probably only about second place and a place in the March play-off.