Joachim Löw has warned Germany that they cannot repeat their group stage mistakes when they face England at Wembley on Tuesday, otherwise their participation in Euro 2020 will be over.
Germany flirted with disaster against Hungary on stormy night in Munich, coming six minutes from finishing bottom of Group F and exiting the tournament at the first hurdle. Leon Goretzka’s late goal lifted them back into second place and meant an error-strewn defensive showing was not severely punished.
Goretzka’s intervention ended an evening of extraordinary drama and seesawing fortunes as France and Portugal also drew 2-2 and the fate of the teams changed repeatedly.
“It’s in or out now, a good situation,” Löw said. “If we show what we can, as we did against Portugal for a long spell, we can be a strong opponent. If we don’t manage that then we will get into difficulties.”
Löw wants to see a performance more akin to the free-flowing 4-2 win over Portugal than this awkward, laboured draw and he expects the meeting with England to be more conducive to that kind of affair. Although Hungary took the lead twice, they were happy to sit back for most of the game and Germany finished with 75% possession.
“Against England it’s going to be a totally different match,” Löw said. “They play at home, they want to attack, it’s going to be a more open match than it was tonight. We need to improve on things, we are aware of that. We need to be careful, especially at set pieces. We can’t repeat the same mistakes again, we need to do things better. But the match will be a different one and we’re looking forward to it.”
England and Germany have faced each other in several memorable tournament matches, including at Wembley. England beat West Germany there in the 1966 World Cup final but lost the Euro 96 semi-final to Germany on a night when Gareth Southgate missed a penalty. Their most recent tournament encounter was at the 2010 World Cup, when Germany won 4-1 and Frank Lampard had a goal wrongly disallowed.
Germany’s thrilling encounter last Saturday with Portugal was the preferred point of reference throughout Löw’s camp. “We are optimistic because we already showed a good performance against Portugal,” said Joshua Kimmich, whose move to midfield at half-time here resulted in what was deemed a man-of-the-match display. “I’m looking forward to it to be honest. There are worse matches to play than at Wembley against England. I think we can make it and be successful.”
Kimmich admitted that Germany, who began their tournament with a flat defeat by France, would not be arriving in London with the headwind they would have craved.
“[The Hungary game] stopped our good atmosphere a bit – we wanted to keep our momentum high. We knew it was going to be a difficult match tonight but we could have been more dominant. So far I’d say [our form] has been up and down and that’s been the case lately. But I’m convinced we can improve and play better, in the next match and even beyond.”
Löw, who will leave his post after Germany’s final game at this tournament, thought the attitude his team showed in bouncing back from the brink would stand them in good stead. “There were other things to take care of,” he said when asked whether an imminent departure had crossed his mind during the game. “The morale, the spirit, the attitude, the power that we showed, I really liked that,” he said. “That’s why I always had the feeling from the outside that we could score a goal”
The Football Association is looking into whether Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell can take any part in socially distanced outdoor training with the squad during the build-up to the game against Germany. They are having to isolate after their contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who returned a positive Covid test on Monday morning.
Mount and Chilwell must isolate until midnight on Monday, which makes it doubtful that they will appear for England the following day. But the FA and England’s medical staff, leaning on Premier League precedents during the pandemic and liaising with the public health authorities, want to see whether the pair could do any work with other players, possibly in small groups, to keep them as involved as possible.
Gareth Southgate would love to have Mount, in particular, available for the last 16, even if the complexities are great. Mount and Chilwell are currently permitted to train individually.