Germany's Jerome Boateng rejects calls to retire as Joachim Low backed
Jerome Boateng has no plans to quit international football despite coming in for criticism following Germany's shock group-stage exit at the World Cup.
Boateng, 29, was one of nine players from the squad that lifted the World Cup four years ago who made it to Russia but were dumped out after losing to both Mexico and South Korea.
No player has so far announced his retirement from international football to make way for new blood.
"It was never an issue for me," Boateng, who was sent off in the win over Sweden and missed the loss to South Korea, told Die Welt when asked about international retirement. "I am a leader. And as such I am ready to tackle the reboot."
Sami Khedira, 31, another 2014 World Cup winner to disappoint in Russia, said that he will take his time to weigh up his options and does not want to rush his decision.
Mesut Ozil, 29, has been subject to racist insults following his controversial photo with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mid-May. He has also been targeted for his body language on the pitch, with parts of the German public making him the scapegoat.
Having to leave the World Cup already after the group stage hurts so much. We just weren't good enough. I'll need some time to get over it. #SayNoToRacism #Worldcup #Russia2018 #M1Ö pic.twitter.com/mFOOhYQZen— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) June 29, 2018
Having remained quiet throughout the tournament, Ozil published a short statement on social media on Friday, and he admitted Germany "weren't good enough." Before ending with Hashtag #SayNoToRacism, he added: "I'll need some time to get over it."
Niklas Sule, 22, condemned German media in a post on Instagram, saying they were never interested in backing the team.
"All of us were world champions in 2014," he wrote, addressing the Germany supporters. "And this is also means that we all were eliminated in 2018. Your criticism is appropriate and justified. And it's not about media, who try to write everything down anyway. It's about the real fans who are there in success and failure."
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The German FA's leadership has backed Joachim Low to continue as Bundestrainer.
Following a conference call of all 18 key members of the DFB, it was decided that Low would receive the backing of the German FA despite there being no in-depth analysis of the World Cup exit.
On Sunday, DFB vice-president Rainer Koch said that "we've discussed with him that the decision has to be made in a timely manner. We bank on him that he will decide to continue."
Low on Thursday said "far-reaching measures and clear changes are needed." His statement led to kicker headlining their lead article on Germany's future with "Him or them" underneath a picture of Low on one side and Manuel Neuer, Boateng, Khedira, Toni Kroos, Ozil and Thomas Muller on the other.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.