MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Germany must defend as a team when they host world champions France on Thursday to get some measure of redemption for their World Cup flop and make a fresh start, coach Joachim Loew said.
Germany, 2014 world champions, crashed out of the World Cup in Russia in June at the group stage, their earliest exit in 80 years in the tournament.
Their inaugural Nations League encounter against France is the first game for both teams since the World Cup.
“We want to show a different face, play a good game against the world champions,” Loew told reporters. “Of course it is a chance for us for some redemption.”
“You can feel that the team knows it needs to rectify things. We must have the confidence to defend and all players must participate in defending. We have to defend our goal with all means. That is an important condition.”
“No matter what the system is, it is important for all players to work in defence, not only those in the back. We need to rebalance our game.”
Midfielder Toni Kroos said the Germans were itching to prove the Russia debacle was just a fluke.
“When you have such a flop then you want to get things right again,” Kroos said. “We want to use that chance against France. We want to set a marker. Tomorrow would be great but especially for the next two years.”
Loew in recent weeks blamed his risky attacking tactics that ended up leaving the team exposed at the back as a major reason for their shock World Cup exit.
The Germans must now settle into the role of underdogs against France who deserved the world title after having been the world’s best team in the past few years, he said.
“We are not the favourites when the new world champions play their first game since winning the title,” Loew said. “We were favourites for years and now we have to start from a different position.
“Logically we will try to contain them and independently of the result we want to show a different face and a different attitude.”
Loew also ruled out the return of midfielder Mesut Ozil, who retired from international football after the World Cup claiming he was the victim of racism following a furore over a photograph with him and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
“He announced his retirement, he gave his reasons so the case is closed,” Loew said of the Arsenal player. “When someone announces their retirement like that, you don’t bring them back eight weeks later.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris