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Germany Goes Back To The Chalkboard

Germany was declared tournament favorite for Euro 2008, but anyone who's been watching the team this past year won't have been too surprised by Thursday's capitulation to Croatia. Among several good performances have been games where shoddy defense, lackluster attack, a captain unable to take command and questionable tactics have been the overwhelming features of some mediocre performances, such as in the 3-0 home defeat to the Czech Republic in qualifying play.
The Germans are at least used to honest self-examination, and after the loss to Croatia were frank in locating their problems. Coach Joachim Loew called it a "deserved defeat. We didn't put Croatia under any pressure. We didn't bring any pace into the game, we didn't win the one-on-one battles, and we didn't chase back." He promised that it would be "a different eleven" on the field, though it's unclear if he meant different players or just a different attitude.
"The Croats had more bite," said captain Michael Ballack, who had a miserable game and gave the ball up repeatedly. "Maybe we thought that we were already through. Now we absolutely have to win the last game against Austria." Although in fact a draw will be enough in Monday's game to see Germany into the quarterfinals.

Read the whole story at Sueddeutsche Zeitung »

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