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EM 2024: Why doesn’t Nagelsmann listen to experts like me?

EM 2024: Why doesn’t Nagelsmann listen to experts like me?
EM 2024: Why doesn’t Nagelsmann listen to experts like me?

The 1:1 draw in the last European Championship group match against Switzerland was television torture, says our author. He knows nothing about football or the national team, but after just half an hour he knew what was missing from the German game: courage to play with a gap (in his teeth).

I take the European Football Championship very seriously. There is a match schedule in our kitchen where all the results are entered. On match days I keep a large supply of potato chips and peanuts on hand so that I can stay fit and able to make judgements in front of the TV. I also know when we won the World Cup. In short: I am an expert.

My son, 15 years old, attacking midfielder at SC Teutonia 05 Ottensen, sees things differently. “First of all, I play in defensive midfield, secondly, at FC Teutonia 05 Ottensen, and thirdly, you can’t even tell a false number nine from Manuel Neuer.” In short: The boy is right.

EM 2024: Niclas Füllkrug scores 1:1 in the EM group match against Switzerland

90+2! Füllkrug saves group victory against strong Swiss – all highlights in the video

06:03 min

And yet, after about 30 minutes of the game against Switzerland, I said to my wife: “This isn’t going to work. Where is Füllkrug?” It was 0:1 and I flicked potato chip remains from my stomach with a grim look on my face. And my wife – a huge Füllkrug fan, if only because of that apparently somewhat sexy gap in his teeth – said: “I didn’t know you liked Füllkrug!”

Euro 2024: Why doesn’t Nagelsmann move sooner?

Football is not a question of liking or not liking. Football is about fighting and determination. I asked myself: When will Nagelsmann make a decisive change? Nagelsmann did nothing at first. And so it continued: Second half. At the back? Confusion. The midfield? Tight. And at the front? Tight, tight, tight. Thousands of legs poking around in two square meters.

“These Swiss are clever,” my friend Bernd WhatsApped me. Bernd knows his stuff.

I typed, quite monosyllabically: “Filling jug!”

Bernd, my brother in spirit, replied: “That would be a good idea.”

And Nagelsmann? He completely ignored us. I became more and more annoyed and opened a can of peanuts. I always need a lot of energy when the game takes so much energy. Every time Havertz touched the ball I snapped. “Not flat! Not through the middle! For God’s sake, high in! High! Not flat! Hooooch!”

“Why high,” asked my wife, “who’s supposed to behead it?”

“Fill up!!!!”

I shouted at her. I was a little embarrassed. I’m not usually like that. (My son interjects: “Yes!”)

In the 61st minute, Nagelsmann finally had a change of heart. He made a substitution. Thanks, Julian! (We’re on first name terms when I agree with his decisions.)

And Julian brought… Schlotterbeck.

And: space.

I started rocking my upper body back and forth.

And then comes… Beier!

“Is everything OK?” my wife asked. “This is torture,” I whispered, reached into the peanuts with my whole hand, swallowed practically without chewing and started coughing so hard that my wheezing “Füllkrug” was practically incomprehensible. In the 65th minute, Nagelsmann made another substitution. Beier. I laughed hysterically.

Woman: “Calm down. Very calm down.”

Me: “Fill…grrrmmmpffff!!!”

Germany was trundling towards the end. I always speak of “Germany” when things aren’t going well. When we’re in the lead, I say “we”. In any case, I was fed up. I got up, went into the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, grabbed a pen and wrote “0:1” on the schedule.

A final, bitter Whatsapp to Bernd: “Round of 16 against Italy. Thank you very much, Nagelsmann!”

Just as I was brushing my teeth, my wife shouted from the living room. Someone had scored a goal in injury time. For someone. The player’s name? I’ve forgotten.

Source: Stern

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