After more than two months reflecting on Germany‘s embarrassingly brief World Cup campaign, Joachim Low on Sunday offered fellow coaches a reason why the champions were so easily deposed.
‘After such a long time at the top,’ Low said, ‘we were missing the last percent, the fire, the passion, and this greed to win a title no matter what.’
Low had been summoned from the floor to address FIFA‘s World Cup coaches’ debrief by Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf to explain what had been done to try to ‘maintain the proper spirit’ in the squad in Russia. It was a moot point, given Germany’s elimination in the group stage four years after winning the World Cup.
Joachim Low has spoken out about why Germany did so badly at the 2018 Russia World Cup
Didier Deschamps was also discussing how France can avoid falling into the same traps
A couple of hours later, under the chandeliers of a London hotel ballroom, the tables were turned. In a session dedicated to France’s triumph in Russia, coach Didier Deschamps reflected on the challenge of preventing his newly crowned champions becoming complacent in Qatar in 2022.
The question came from St. Kits and Nevis coach Jacques Passy who wondered how Deschamps would ensure France ‘do not fall into the trap’ as Germany did. Deschamps did suggest ‘Joachim would be better at answering’ before divulging his concerns.
‘A certain doubt perhaps creeps in sometimes but not the same way it used to,’ Deschamps said through an interpreter. ‘They think maybe it’s easy to do it again and it’s very, very difficult to stay focused to stay at the top level.’
As captain of France, Deschamps won the World Cup on home soil in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000. But after Deschamps’ international career ended, France finished bottom of its group at the 2002 World Cup with only one point and was eliminated.
Germany won the World Cup in 2014, but went crashing out of this year’s in the group stage
Didier Deschamps’ France won the 2018 World Cup, but must remain focused for Qatar in 2022
Deschamps has used his own experiences to guide a young group of France players.
‘You are no longer the same players,’ Deschamps recalls telling his squad on the eve of France beating Croatia in the final in July, ‘people around you will change.’
A task for Deschamps is keeping his players grounded.
‘Sometimes you see players run into difficulties because maybe success goes to their heads,’ Deschamps said. ‘It’s not as easy to stay focused and do everything with the same intensity.’
Germany is the perfect case study. Low’s side won only one game in Russia – against Sweden – and lost the other two in the group stage.
‘In the first game against Mexico we were caught on many counterattacks,’ Low said. ‘We had some players who were with us a long time who weren’t in good form, and we did some things wrong.’
Nine members of the squad from the victorious tournament in Brazil in 2014 also made the trip to Russia, with some playing at their third World Cup.
‘We have to see how we can integrate some new players in the next years,’ Low said, ‘get some fresh blood into the team.’