12/01/2022
Dietmar Hamann cannot see Germany beating Spain, and he expects Hansi Flicks team to bow out before the World Cup last-16 stage in Qatar.

The former national team midfielder doubts Germany will get the better of Spain in Sunday’s second round of Group E games and he suspects another disappointment will prove fatal in the wake of the shock defeat to Japan.

Hamann singled out Antonio Rudiger’s conduct as being typical of Germany’s approach to the Japan game, claiming the moment where the defender shepherded the ball out of play after a bizarre high-knee run was disrespectful.

It came when Germany were 1-0 ahead, but they went on to lose 2-1 on Wednesday, a staggering result almost on a par with Saudi Arabia’s shock win against Argentina.

“That was symptomatic of the unprofessionalism and arrogance in the German game and of disrespect that couldn’t be surpassed because he made the opponent look ridiculous,” Hamann said of the Rudiger moment.

Slating the team from all angles in his Sky Sport Germany column, Hamann also described Germany as “too soft, too nice and too monotonous”, claiming Japan were the fitter side, and saying of Flick’s players: “I never had the feeling that there was a team on the pitch.”

He spared Jamal Musiala from criticism, but Hamann said the Germany team management had “decided to put harmony above all else” when preparing for the tournament, arguing veteran defender Mats Hummels should not have been left out of Flick’s squad, pinpointing the defender as a player who “takes responsibility”.

“You need friction! This creates stimuli. I feel like we die in beauty,” Hamann said.

“I expect Japan to win against Costa Rica on Sunday. A draw against Spain will probably not be enough. You probably have to win, but I don’t see that.”

Spain were 7-0 winners against Costa Rica on Wednesday, a measure of La Roja’s prowess that should focus German minds.

Hamann also suspects Germany were put off by controversy surrounding the OneLove armbands, a gesture of non-discrimination that FIFA has pushed for teams not to wear. Instead, Germany’s players posed for a pre-game picture with hands over their mouths, signalling they felt gagged.

“Players can’t fix something that federations couldn’t do before. They’re in Qatar to play football, which may not be an excuse, but of course it’s a distraction,” Hamann wrote. “The last few days felt more about the armband than about Japan. That certainly didn’t help.”