Pressure on hosts Germany to deliver at Euro 2024 has grown exponentially in the past few months following a string of bad results but it went up another notch after the country’s shock under-21 European Championship group stage elimination.
Germany’s youth team, European champions in 2021, was eager to show a better side than the senior team in recent matches, but lost 2-0 to England in Georgia on Wednesday to crash out at the group stage with one point from three matches.
It also misses out on a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“England was at least one level better than us,” said Germany under-21 coach Antonio Di Salvo. “They have a lot of players with potential and an amazing depth in the squad.
“We had imagined it all differently,” he added.
With the German fans dreading hearing those same words at Euro 2024 all eyes shift to Germany coach Hansi Flick.
His team look nowhere near the level required for next year’s Euros when they will seek redemption for a disappointing five-year run.
Germany drew 3-3 with visiting Ukraine, lost 1-0 to Poland in Warsaw and 2-0 at home to Colombia in friendlies earlier this month, confirming its bad form since before last December’s FIFA World Cup first-round elimination in Qatar.
When Flick took over in September 2021 the Germans were in a slump, having been eliminated at the group stage of the 2018 World Cup - at the time their earliest exit in more than 80 years - and lost to England in the last 16 at Euro 2020.
While Flick kicked off his stint with an eight-game winning run, Germany have now won just one of their last five matches since their shock World Cup group stage exit in December. They have also won only three of their last 11 matches.
The Germans faces Japan and France in September, two friendlies that could decide Flick’s future at the helm of the four-time world champions.
“I believe we will turn the corner in September with two wins and two good performances,” said Germany national team director Rudi Voller on Wednesday. “What will be important is the way we will present ourselves.”
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