After the failure, the acceptance and the introspection comes an effort to move on. Joachim Löw and his Germany players now turn their attentions to the new UEFA Nations League and attempt to focus only on the future.As a smiling Joachim Löw emerged from a limousine on Monday afternoon in Munich, he stopped to sign each and every autograph requested by the fans lining the streets. His players duly followed suit.
Interaction with their supporters was one of the many aspects of the Germany set up that Löw admitted fell far short of expectations in Russia when he finally spoke about the tournament last week, three months after Germany’s early exit.
As his first post-Russia 2018 squad gathered in Bavaria, his players – many of whom were among the under-performers in the summer – offered the coach their backing and expressed their own desire to move on.
Read more: Germany set up offers too little, too late and is too detached
“Of course the situation is different but it brings nothing to talk about the past months,” forward Marco Reus said at the team hotel.
“We have met here today and have two important games ahead of us. A signal can be made directly against the world champions that we are to be reckoned with again.”
The new Nations League format, which seeds national teams across Europe in to groups, includes home and away fixtures and will, at least partly, replace friendlies. Germany are grouped with France and the Netherlands and will face each opponent, home and away, by November.
After the opener against France in Munich on Thursday, Löw takes his team to Amsterdam on October 13 and Paris three days later. The home return with the Netherlands, November 19 in Gelsenkirchen, concludes the group phase. Germany also face Peru in a friendly this Sunday.
When the draw was made in January, Löw called it: “Super interesting. The Netherlands and France are neighbours with a long culture and history of football.” But the World Cup experience has turned up the heat on the 58-year-old despite the backing of his superiors. And the threat of relegation from the top tier of the Nations League means all eyes will be on the long-serving boss.
But perhaps that will draw some attention from the players, who bear responsibility of their own for their limp World Cup exit. Striker Timo Werner, who failed to find the net in Russia, is still backing the man who gave him his international debut.
“Löw is a great coach”, said the RB Leipzig man. “He knows what the mistakes were and that is to his credit.”
But all the autographs and talk of the future won’t mean as much to Löw’s rejuvenation as a win over the reigning world champions on Thursday.