KOCHI: For Germany, it was a 'black Tuesday' at Margao’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Held as a favourite, they were massacred by Iran 4-0, who climbed to the top of Group C.
The devastating loss had shaken the German players’ morale, whose shoulders were drooped and heads down. Coach Christian Wueck had to reassure his boys that what happened was just a skirmish, and the battle was far from over.
“The boys were disappointed after the loss and I had to tell them to get over that. Told them to ready themselves for the next match versus Guinea,” he had said in Goa. “It was a black Tuesday.”
Feared by opponents for their unique football style that is shaped by their earnest desire to win all the matches, the Germans would be perfectly knowing what awaits them if they can't secure full points against Guinea.
Germany badly require a win for safe passage to the pre-quarterfinals, but they would be more worried about the damage an adverse result can bring to their reputation.
“German team is always known as a team that wins every game. That was the point till the last game against Iran. After the match, many of our players were surprised by the strength of Iran players,” the coach said.
Learning from their Iran experience, Germany would be hoping to tighten their midfield and let the strikers do the rest. Their best bet in the attacking third would be skipper Jann-Fiete Arp, the Hamburg hitman, who had scored one against Costa Rica in Goa.
When asked, the coach chose to play the cards close to his heart. “It's a must-win game for both the teams. Both want to win it and it would be a tough game,” he said, adding Arp is a highly talented player and the team has got a lot of such talents.
“We need players behind him and on his sides to score goals. And we have got talented players to do that,” Wueck said.
Arp said they had a tough match on hand, but hoped they could pull off a win. “Last match everything went wrong. Now, we are focusing on the Guinea match. If we win, we can qualify to the next round. And we will do everything to win it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Guinea would be looking to tighten their backline and not let the Germans score easy goals. Their sloppy defending had hurt them in the 1-3 loss against Iran.
Coach Souleymane Camara said they would pay special attention to their defense. “We want to stay here and for that, we need a win. Otherwise, we have to go home. We will give our best against Germany,” he said.