Belfast Telegraph

Boateng confident shamed squad will come back stronger

 

By Robert Jones

Germany defender Jerome Boateng has labelled their World Cup as a "disaster" after their worst performance in 80 years.

An embarrassing 2-0 defeat to South Korea condemned the four-time champions to an ignominious bottom-place finish in Group F.

National newspaper Bild declared the campaign as "the biggest disgrace in German World Cup history".

"Such a disaster. World Cup 2018 was not what we expected," Bayern Munich defender Boateng, whose individual performances came in for criticism, wrote on Instagram.

"I'm still angry and disappointed and at the same time I feel sorry for all our fans who supported us in the stadiums.

"Four years ago we were on top of the world - now we're on the bottom. These are the days in the life of a football player nobody envies you for. But that's life.

"All I can say is thank you to our fans who always support us. We will analyse what went wrong and carry on working as we always did. I promise we'll be back strong!"

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was at fault for South Korea's second goal after coming out of his goal and playing in midfield, insists he has no plans to retire from international football.

The Bayern Munich star accepted responsibility in his role as captain, but added the whole squad had "screwed up".

"You have to say we do not deserve to go through," he said.

"In the second round everybody would have liked to play against us. How are we going to be dangerous if we do not get our performance right?

"We gave a bad picture in the three games. I cannot answer why that happened.

"We have to take responsibility. We screwed up and we screwed up together."

Neuer later took to Instagram to apologise to the supporters.

"We are just as disappointed as you! A World Cup is only every four years, and we had planned so much. We are sorry that we did not play as world champion," he wrote.

"Therefore, we are well deserved to be knocked out, as bitter as it is.

"In Rio 2014 we celebrated together. But sports also include defeat and recognition when the opponents were better.

"We congratulate Sweden and Mexico on their progress and South Korea on yesterday's victory."

Many of his team-mates stayed off social media in the aftermath of the defeat, including Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, who had been providing regular updates to his 23 million followers.

However, Neuer's Bayern colleague Mats Hummels posted a crying emoji with the word "Sorry".

Coach Joachim Low will consider his future despite only signing a new contract in May to take him to 2022.

Asked whether he will continue in the role he has held for the last 12 years, Low (28) revealed: "That's hard to say.

"Of course, it takes a couple of hours to look into that. I'm shocked, I'm shocked because we didn't manage to pull it off.

"Where we go from here, we'll have to talk about it calmly. It will take me some hours now to come to terms with it. I'm incredibly disappointed by this elimination."

Belfast Telegraph

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