WIf the soccer world that had existed for more than half a century were still to exist today, then the soccer World Cup would have started as it has every four years since 1950.
But in the summer of 2022, the European football summer has long been under the influence of the new era: June 14 was the long-awaited end of an almost endless season for the German and Italian national teams with the fourth game in the Nations League within eleven days .
But around five months before the 2022 World Cup tournament, which was moved to the Arabian winter, it can be said: The Germans have saved the best for the Nations League until the end of the season. The team of national coach Flick sensationally won against Italy 5:2 with goals from Kimmich (10th minute), Gündogan (45th + 4th, penalty kick), Müller (52nd) and Werner (68th + 69th). The goals were scored by Gnoto (78′) and Bastoni (90’+4′).
The national coach paid his team a “huge compliment” on ZDF and said: “It was a real stress test for all of us”.
The two-time goalscorer Werner said on ZDF: “Goals are always good for a striker. In my case, double and triple when you are counted and criticized after every game”. With a view to the turbulent weeks at his club Chelsea, he continued: “The fact that I’m not who I was some time ago is perhaps also clear after the last few weeks and months at the club.” And lkay Gündogan praised: “If we do it like today, many teams will have a hard time against us.”
Fans rub their eyes
After the last three 1-1 draws against Hungary, England and, at the start, against the Italians, the spectacular victory was finally the hoped-for German sense of achievement – but one that was far greater than even the greatest German football optimists thought possible after their recent performances had held.
It was of course one of the better of these four German games in the Nations League so far, but above all this courageous performance with one goal after the other was above all a victory against recently emerging self-doubt. And he was one for statistics.
The Germans had only won once against feared opponents Italy in a tournament game, on penalties at the 2016 European Championships. In Mönchengladbach, the Germans won 5-2 for the first time ever against Italy after regular time.
In addition, you could count German victories against top nations in recent years anyway on the fingers of one hand. The 5:2 in Mönchengladbach seemed like a result from another German football world in this respect. A win that finally got the fans rubbing their eyes again.
Still undefeated under Flick
With the impressive victory, this year’s German Nations League record is also much friendlier: six points from four games – and still undefeated under national coach Flick. From a tournament perspective, that was a conciliatory German end of the season.
An all-round perfect end of the season, however, the Hungarians made a small dash through the German Nations League bill in a long-distance duel that evening. With an equally sensational 4-0 win, they moved up to seven points at the top of the table, one place and one point ahead of the Germans. But you can be sure that the momentum of the last evening will carry the DFB selection into the coming World Cup season.
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