In a rapidly closing east Berlin bar, Eric Warncke expresses “disappointment” over Germany‘s shocking World Cup exit, but claims he had anticipated it would occur.
The team had a mountain to climb to advance to the Qatari knockout round after a shocking 2-1 loss to Japan in the opening game.
The Germans had a slim chance of qualifying after a tense 1-1 draw with Spain, but the Spaniards’ Thursday defeat by the Japanese sealed their fate despite a tumultuous 4-2 victory over Costa Rica.
“Nobody expected Japan to beat Spain, but in the end we were knocked out deservedly,” Warncke, 27, says.
To his mind, there are “too few characters, too few leaders” in Hansi Flick’s squad compared with the previous sides.
Germany once took great pride in being a “tournament team” that was always in with a shot of winning World Cups.
“Individually they are all good players, but it’s not a team,” he says, lamenting the disappearance of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, who lifted the trophy in 2014.
His 23-year-old friend Rico Wagner summed up the sentiment similarly, saying, “Disappointed, but we also deserved it.”
The spectators in the bar expressed their annoyance during a nail-biting match in which Germany appeared to be winning at first, then lost, and finally was unable to do enough despite a late surge.
Some spectators grabbed their coats and made their way to the exit even before the TV announcer announced Japan’s victory and Germany’s elimination, yelling “this is a debacle, this is a disaster.”
When the fulltime whistle blew, there were yells of rage.
Levent Lanzke, 41, believes that Germany ought to have advanced “definitely to the quarterfinals.”
“Although it appeared feasible on paper, Japan showed up. Costa Rica as well “He shrugged and replied.
I don’t begrudge Japan, he said, to put it simply.
Sebastian Fichte, 48, said of the tournament’s controversial host nation Qatar and decision to move it from its customary summer slot to the European winter months, “The enthusiasm was already really low.”
The German players posed for a picture with their hands over their lips after football’s global governing body Fifa warned teams with sanctions if they donned a rainbow armband to show support for diversity and inclusivity. They had been muzzled, that much was evident.
Germany’s games have received far fewer viewers than usual so far.
Despite Germany’s elimination from the World Cup, Fichte claims he will not abstain from the remaining matches.
Michael Schreiber, a 43-year-old fan, agrees, saying: “I’ll watch a couple of games. Definitely. The majority of the time, good games excite me.”
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