‘Too much drama in build-up’: Germany spreads blame for World Cup loss

Pre-game gesture and armband row blamed for defeat to JapanFlick’s selection and substitutions also heavily criticisedThe result was surprising, but the pain felt familiar. As Germany digested Wednesday’s shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Japan, many fans and commentators were reminded of the country’s World Cup opening match four years ago, when the incumbent World Champions lost their opening match against Mexico. “It looks a lot like Russia reloaded,” one supporter told broadcaster ARD as he exited the stadium.Now, as then, there were those who blamed events off the pitch for messing with the German players’ heads. In 2018, it was the controversy around the two internationals of Turkish ancestry, Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan, who had their picture taken with Turkey’s strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the run-up to the tournament.

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