Hansi Flick discusses Niclas Füllkrug, defensive issues, and Costa Rica

Speaking during a press conference, Germany head coach Hansi Flick answered questions surrounding the draw against Spain, super-sub Niclas Füllkrug, the team’s defensive issues, and the upcoming game against Costa Rica on Thursday. Germany were much improved against Spain in their second group stage game but still have work to do if they’re to progress into the lockout stages. On Thursday, Germany must win against Costa Rica and hope that Japan lose to Spain. If Japan draw, it will come down to goal difference. 

Firstly, Flick expressed his thoughts in regards to the 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday evening. 

“It was a game where we couldn’t be separated. We had another great chance at the end, but unfortunately, we didn’t take it. Self-confidence comes when you win – maybe that’s the spark we need. We need the determination that Niclas Füllkrug showed when he scored. It’s important for me to say that the team fought outstandingly for 90 minutes and showed a great mentality. I am very satisfied.”

After his important equaliser, has Füllkrug now earned himself a start against Costa Rica?

“Right after the game is too early to state something like that, but we are pleased that he showed how to score through his determination. He offers the team a lot, goals aside. He is a very good lad and his intentions are always right. We are very pleased to have him.”

One issue that carried over from their opener was the side’s defensive issues. Niklas Süle looked more comfortable in his usual centre-back position but designated right back Thilo Kehrer also struggled. With no recognised right-sided defender in the squad, Flick was asked how he assessed the defensive performance. 

“We held our ground well and allowed little against us. The goal came from a transition, so we can defend those a bit better by putting a bit more pressure on the ball. We have to work on that. But the team didn’t let their heads hang and wanted to show that they wanted to get something from this game and take our chance.”

What do you expect in the last group match against Costa Rica?

“They showed a great mentality. When you lose 7-0 and come back like that… That’s a team that defends well and is in good condition, and maybe deserved the 1-0 against Japan. But that game still feels like a while away, we still need to let the dust settle on Spain and do our analysis. We’ll look to take forward what we did well,  the players need to have the self-confidence to attack like they did in the end.”

GGFN | Jamie Allen

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