Monday 24 September 2018

Germany wrong to give new deal to Low before World Cup – Ballack

The head coach extended his contract with Die Mannschaft until 2022 before the holders were knocked out in the group stages.

Joachim Low saw his world champions knocked out at the group stage in Russia (Sergei Grits/AP)
Joachim Low saw his world champions knocked out at the group stage in Russia (Sergei Grits/AP)

By Press Association Sport staff

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has questioned the decision to hand head coach Joachim Low a new contract on the eve of World Cup.

Defeat to South Korea on Wednesday saw the reigning champions suffer a shock early exit from the finals, finishing bottom of Group F after three below-par performances.

It is only the second time that Germany have been knocked out in the first round – the last coming in 1938 before the introduction of the group stage.

Ballack, who collected 98 caps during his glittering career, admits he was surprised to see Germany play so badly in Russia.

“The result from Wednesday in Kazan was a total shock for me,” he said.

“Continued success can lead to mistakes. It can be difficult for critics to be heard when things are going so well.

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Ballack scored 42 goals for Germany (Stephen Pond/EMPICS)

“But then, once you start to fail, the critical voices start to be noticed and everyone is shouting about it. In German football, there is an apocalyptical mood right now.

“There is no explanation as to how a team with this quality can end at the bottom of this group. How can this group of players struggle with all these basics of football?”

Low, who has come in for intense criticism back home, signed a contract extension in May to remain in charge until 2022 – something Ballack believes was a mistake by the German Football Association.

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Germany were crowned World Cup winners in Brazil four years ago (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Big tournaments are fixed points for each country,” the Betfair ambassador added.

“After a European or World Cup, you can judge the work that has been done in the previous two years.

“Friendlies and tournament qualifiers for a footballing nation like Germany are not proper indicators of the state of our team.

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Low and his players have returned to Germany after their shock World Cup exit (Ina Fassbender/AP)

“For this reason, it was unnecessary to give Joachim Low a four-year contract extension just four weeks before the World Cup started.

“Whether Low is still the right person to manage this team, I cannot say.

“In my experience, he was a really good coach who could give even weaker teams a clear plan and identity. Today, the coach and team have to be put under serious scrutiny. That’s for sure.”

Press Association

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