Germany manager Hansi Flick has warned his side they face a ‘final’ against Spain to avoid yet another tournament humiliation.
The 2014 world champions were eliminated at the group stage in 2018 before falling to England in the last 16 of Euro 2020, and they are already at risk of tumbling out of this year’s World Cup after a shock defeat to Japan in their opening fixture.
Now, with Luis Enrique’s Spain to come on Sunday, Germany could be staring another abrupt exit in the face.
“The last two tournaments were not [good],” Flick admitted before the game. “We want to avoid a repeat of this.
“The focus is on concentration. This is the first final for us at the World Cup and that’s what it’s about — to avoid a repeat of that.”
On top of the major tournament shortcomings, Germany only avoided relegation from the Nations League in 2019 due to a rule change and failed to qualify for the final four this year.
Asked whether Germany are still the international heavyweight they used to be, Flick responded: “This will be answered on Sunday. Maybe we have another answer to that question, the right answer.”
Germany head into the game third in Group E, ahead of Costa Rica on goal difference after the latter shipped seven against Spain earlier in the tournament. With Japan expected to beat the Central Americans and move to six points, Germany would be eliminated with a defeat against Spain.