National team defeats Greece in last European Championship friendly

National team defeats Greece in last European Championship friendly

What was that? After the 0-0 draw against Ukraine, Nagelsmann’s team hardly improved in the European Championship friendly against Greece. Neuer slipped up again – and someone saved the team.

This means that there will be no new football summer fairytale. Even though substitute Pascal Groß scored just before the end to secure a 2-1 (0-1) victory in the last European Championship test against Greece, the German national team delivered a dress rehearsal a week before the opening match against Scotland that arouses more doubt than confidence for the home tournament. After two days off, national coach Julian Nagelsmann will have to do a lot for his 26-man squad so that the fans can cheer in Munich next Friday.

Kai Havertz’s goal in the 56th minute was the first to correct the situation after a lackluster and error-filled performance by the German team in the first half. Substitute Benjamin Henrichs missed the chance to make it 2-1 with a shot that hit the crossbar before Groß’s cracker (83′). One positive was at least the German team’s willpower.

The Greeks showed a lot of heart in Borussia Park and deservedly took the lead through Giorgos Masouras (34′). The attacker took advantage of a serious goalkeeping error by Manuel Neuer, who once again did not prove to be a reliable number one. Champions League winners Toni Kroos and Antonio Rüdiger were also unable to transfer the mentality of Real Madrid to the national team.

Nagelsmann’s dream team disappointed

The sobering performance in the first half must have given Nagelsmann something to think about. In front of 45,488 spectators in the sold-out Borussia Park, the national coach fielded exactly the same starting lineup that will also play at the European Championships. And which he himself says he decided on several weeks ago.

But as long as Nagelsmann’s dream team was on the pitch, they lacked everything they would need for a successful home tournament for 45 minutes: speed, intensity, ball control and, above all, any form of European Championship excitement. The Greeks were defeated in the European Championship playoffs in March by the extreme underdog Georgia. But on Friday evening it seemed at times as if they were about to start an important tournament – and not the European Championship hosts.

The goal conceded in the 33rd minute was emblematic of the German team’s long, sluggish performance, which was extremely prone to errors, especially in the build-up to the game: Jamal Musiala lost the ball after an inaccurate pass from Jonathan Tah. And at the end of the chain of errors, goalkeeper Neuer also made a mistake for the second time this year. The 38-year-old let a harmless shot from Christos Tzolis bounce right to the feet of Masouras. And the striker, who has also been linked with Hertha BSC, only pushed the ball in from a few meters away.

Spectators dissatisfied with players

This serious lapse by Neuer even overshadowed a world-class move with which he had prevented the Greeks from taking an even earlier lead in the sixth minute. The Bayern keeper saved twice from close range against Tzolis, who was attacking for Fortuna Düsseldorf.

This time, too, the starting point was a very risky and completely unsuccessful cross pass from Musiala in midfield. Such mistakes in large numbers – that was the pattern in the German game for a half.

Some spectators even whistled for half-time – and the national coach reacted to the weak performance by substituting Leroy Sané and David Raum. These measures had a double effect. Firstly, the whole team showed at least a reaction. Secondly, Bayern striker Sané in particular revived the previously ineffective offense.

Sané saves national team in last friendly match

The 28-year-old prepared the equaliser through centre-forward Havertz’s 16th international goal on the right side of the attack.

Sané is also at least indirectly responsible for the fact that the fourth goalkeeper Alexander Nübel and no other field player were dropped from the German squad for the European Championship before the game. “We have a few uncertainties with Leroy, where we don’t know exactly how much strain he can tolerate over the course of the tournament,” Nagelsmann told RTL. “We have to react a little to that.”

Against the Greeks, however, Sané confirmed his role as one of the few players who can still really compete with the regulars at the European Championships. The Bayern star is a possible alternative to Florian Wirtz, as he was on Friday evening. Or as a potential number ten for captain Ilkay Gündogan, who was temporarily invisible this time and is once again unfamiliar with this role.

Source: Stern

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