Germany defender Antonio Rudiger was reportedly caught up in a furious row with a teenage FIFA volunteer after Die Mannschaft failed to make it out of the group stages in Qatar. A World Cup win over Costa Rica wasn’t enough to see Hansi Flick’s side progress as Japan came up with a shock triumph over Spain.
Falling at the first hurdle in a second successive World Cup tournament was tough to take for Germany’s players on Thursday. Having been beaten by Japan and held to a draw with Spain, safe passage to the knockout stages wasn’t entirely in their hands, but they could be forgiven for fancying their chances.
A win over Costa Rica, coupled with a Spanish victory over Japan, would have sent both European heavyweights through to the Round of 16. Despite Germany taking care of their end, Japan came up with a surprise 2-1 result over Spain with a pair of quickfire second-half goals.
The final whistle confirmed Germany’s 4-2 win and their exit from the tournament, with tensions boiling over down the tunnel. According to German outlet Sport1, Rudiger was provoked by a teenage FIFA volunteer which sparked a furious exchange.
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“Lots of talent, all well and good. But there is simply more to it. There are other factors as well: the ultimate greed, this filth – we lack that. We are a very, very nice team.” Germany beat Argentina to lift the World Cup in 2014 but that was their last knockout-stage match in football’s most prestigious international tournament, in which they are famed for being so reliable over the years.
Germany boss Flick, after his first major tournament at the helm, was forced to answer tough questions in the wake of the disappointment. Some have questioned whether he should resign after a poor showing in the Middle East, and he claims that the matter will be resolved quickly.
“For me, this is the most difficult day of my career,” added Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich. “The second time to be eliminated at a World Cup. Lots of missed opportunities in four years.
“At the end of the day you have to say that there was a lot of incompetence involved. It’s a problem we already had at Bayern this season. That goes through. You can’t always speak of bad luck. With such an offensive orientation, it’s clear that you can’t defend everything.”