Thursday 19 July 2018

Souness: Germany's lack of a true goalscorer cost them

Germany duo Mario Gomez (centre) and Mats Hummels hold their heads after failing to score against South Korea
Germany duo Mario Gomez (centre) and Mats Hummels hold their heads after failing to score against South Korea
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

After appearing at three World Cups, Graeme Souness knows a thing or two about painful early exits, and while Scotland's eliminations weren't exactly on the same scale as Germany's in Russia, the former midfield general could see it coming.

For all of the talent within the German squad, they crashed and burned in what was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history.

Joachim Loew's side were bereft of inspiration and repeatedly looked stifled in the final third. That, however, didn't come as a surprise to Souness, who prior to the tournament had predicted that they would struggle without a recognised striker.

Thomas Mueller looked a shadow of his former self, while turning to a 32-year-old lumbering Mario Gomez, didn't exactly inspire confidence.

Obvious

Germany ultimately paid the price for a deficiency that in Souness' view was blatantly obvious, and as he casts his eye over the openness of the World Cup, he believes that England have as good a chance as any to go all the way, simply because of one man.

"I thought Germany had a chance but they don't have a goalscorer," Souness said. "Every game they played, they have dominated the ball. But they haven't had a striker.

"And that's why England have a great chance because of Harry Kane. Ronaldo could carry Portugal through, Messi could carry Argentina through - they're that special.

"Germany had no shape because they were chasing it. They lost their first game, won their second and then they've got keystone cops. That was only because they had to chase it.

"The Germans generally get it right, which is why it is always dangerous to write them off. They were shocked this time. By losing their first game they were under all sorts of pressure."

Speaking before England's clash with Belgium last night, Souness admitted that he had been impressed by the manner in which they have went about their business and also how Gareth Southgate has steadied the ship.

"The most impressive thing for me, as well as them being impressive on the pitch, is the way the country has got behind them," the former Liverpool midfielder maintained.

"I've never seen that before. From the written press to the television to the pundits, everybody's behind them.

"I think he's (Southgate) a 10 out of 10 so far in the way he's managed expectations. He's done really well.

"England have a great chance. Who would they fear right now? No one."

Despite having some reservations about the use of VAR before the World Cup, Souness added that he felt it has been a worthwhile addition.

"I wasn't sure about it but I am an advocate now. We are an entertainment business. If you have a drink in your hand - pint of lager, orange or lemonade and peanuts - then you put them down when VAR starts.

"There's a 45-second period when you're on the edge of your seat. It adds to the excitement, a minute of 'What's going to happen here?'"

Graeme Souness was speaking at the launch of the new Virgin Media Sport channel

Irish Independent

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