German papers slam national team 'wimps' after World Cup loss to Mexico
Germany spent most of Monday away from the media after their 1-0 World Cup opening defeat to Mexico, following a spate of criticism in the German press.
A news conference with former captain Philipp Lahm on Germany's bid for the 2024 European Championships was re-scheduled as one-on-one's, while the defending champions Nationalmannschaft trained behind closed doors.
The Germany camp is set to resume normal business on Tuesday before later that day flying Joachim Low's side out to Sochi for Saturday's group match against Sweden.
Lahm spoke during a visit to a German school, at which only questions from children and none from journalists were allowed, and to German broadcaster ARD, but not on behalf of the German football federation.
"This is an experienced team. The coaching staff is experienced," he said. "They know how to deal with this defeat. Everything is still possible.
"You could hear already yesterday that players were self-critical. The German team just did not hit their top form. That can happen because at a World Cup you come up against tough opponents. A minor setback is not a bad thing to bring the team closer together."
Addressing the postmatch media shutdown from the Germany camp, Lahm told ARD: "I think the timing wouldn't have been right to visit the national team today. We heard that they're isolating themselves a bit. And I think that's exactly the right thing to do because they now need to talk. That's what they'll do. They need time for that."
German newspapers on Monday slammed the team for their "boycott" in the first defeat in a World Cup opener since 1982. Below is a sampling of the reaction from the media:
Wake up, Fiasco, Boycott, On The Brink, Nightmare: German Media reacts to 1-0 loss to Mexico pic.twitter.com/I50jMRFQlQ— uersfeld (@uersfeld) June 18, 2018
Bild: "Jogi, that was a World Cup boycott"
"Worst defence in years, an invisible attack and the midfield was just watching. What a disappointment! Did anyone see the world champions? They were in any case not on the pitch in Moscow yesterday. Four years on from the gigantic 7-1 against Brazil, the title holder loses 1-0 to Mexico. There was a lot of talk about a World Cup boycott for political reasons in recent months. But nobody expected Jogi's lads to turn that plan into reality in the first match. When did Kimmich ever play so bad? Where was Muller's determination? What did Khedira think during his excursion ahead of the 1-0?
"We must wake up to the fact that against on Sweden on Saturday we will be fighting for our survival. One more defeat, and we are out of this World Cup. Out! The party would be over before it has started."
Kicker: "World champions on the brink"
"A scenario which was unthinkable for a long time could indeed take shape, and it would be the consequent follow-up to the development of the past six months. Only one win from the last seven games -- against Saudi Arabia. And Low has to solve fundamental issues. Until now, he was able to get his team into its best shape when it mattered, regardless of what happened in the build-up. But against Mexico his team with eight World Cup winners lacked everything: Hunger, defensive stability, inspiration as well as physical and mental freshness. They looked like a formation past their prime."
"A German national team has not looked as disorganised and helpless for a long time as in their 1-0 defeat to Mexico. It's hard not to get the impression that the oldest Germany XI since 2002 already peaked four years ago. Some confidants who were able to look Bundestrainer Joachim Low into the eyes for a bit longer already noted that this man looked worried, even though in public he said he was not. His mouth said that. But Joachim Low's eyes said that his mouth maybe was not revealing the truth ... Where was the ease from the World Cup-winning side in 2014? Is this already a reason to be worried? Or didn't the tournament just have to start and then the Germans with all their experience would just know what to do? Well. The tournament has started and the first takeaway is that Low's eyes told the truth."
Die Welt: "Wake up!"
"What a false start: Against Mexico the world champions lacked everything a champion needs: ideas, the desire to win, heart. The 1-0 loss at Moscow is the first defeat in an opening match under Joachim Low. His team now is under enormous pressure in the matches against Sweden and South Korea."
Berliner Kurier: "Fiasco instead of Fiesta! Jogi, that was nothing!"
"No pace, no ideas. German national wimps sleep through the World Cup start. It will get very difficult following the 1-0 defeat to Mexico."
Rheinische Post: "DFB XI like an old crooner"
"The DFB team presented themselves like an ageing crooner, who continues to warble away his greatest hits, regardless of what happens around him. Ponderous. Arrogant. Too little to compete at on the stage of a World Cup. The defeat was not an accident. It was a pretty sobering stocktaking of the current capabilities.
"It's striking how brutally frank Mats Hummels mercilessly laid bare the team's performance. His colleagues refused defensive work, he said. This public process of coming to terms is a great risk. It could be an important impulse to learn from it. But it could also break a team into two if you point the fingers at each other. Germany are under immense pressure now."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.