Germany’s performance was dubbed “embarrassing” after it suffered its first World Cup qualifying defeat for 20 years in a humiliating 2-1 home loss to North Macedonia which heaped pressure on coach Joachim Loew.
“The disappointment is huge,” said a crest-fallen Loew after the final whistle in Duisburg on Wednesday.
“This is a set-back. There were a lot of mistakes and we didn’t find a way to break down the deep-standing North Macedonians.
“We also let them counter-attack and had no grip on the game.”
In other games, while defending champion France edged Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1-0, and England scored a 2-1 win over a Poland side missing the injured Robert Lewandowski.
Napoli midfielder Eljif Elmas scored the winner five minutes from time after Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty had drawn Germany level following 37-year-old striker Goran Pandev‘s first-half opener.
The German press were quick to put the boot in.
“How embarrassing!” fumed daily Bild on their website.
“Nasty Surprise” said football magazine Kicker while Frankfurt-based daily FAZ opted for “Rude awakening for the German team”.
The four-time world champions have never failed to qualify for football’s biggest tournament, but did not enter the inaugural edition in 1930 and were banned in 1950.
However, Loew’s men are already languishing third in the Group J table, three points adrift of leaders Armenia and behind North Macedonia on goal difference.
It was the third straight match where the Germans have made a protest aimed at 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.
Several other nations including Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway have also protested for human rights before their qualifiers over the last week.
Qatar has faced criticism for its treatment of migrant workers, many of whom are involved in preparations for next year’s tournament, while Qatari authorities insist they have done more than any country in the region to improve worker welfare. (AFP)