June 28, 2018 / 3:33 PM / 19 days ago

Germany lacked team spirit, says 1990 World Cup winner Matthaeus

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Defending champions Germany lacked personality and team spirit, contributing to their shock World Cup first-round exit, their former World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthaeus said on Thursday.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Germany Departure - Vnukovo airport, Moscow Region, Russia - June 28, 2018. Team members queue while passing through a security checkpoint before the departure. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Speaking at a soccer event on Moscow’s Red Square, Matthaeus, who led Germany to the 1990 title, said everything that worked in their favour in 2014 when they won in Brazil had now gone against them.

“First we missed the performance, and when you don’t have the performance, you cannot expect results,” Matthaeus said.

Soccer Football - The Germany team returns home from 2018 World Cup in Russia - Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany - June 28, 2018 Germany coach Joachim Low speaks to the press REUTERS/Thorsten Wagner

“I think everybody made mistakes, from the coach to the players, many players didn’t perform (with) good personality, and I think we missed team spirit.”

The Germans crashed out of the tournament on Wednesday after suffering a stunning 2-0 defeat by South Korea in their final Group F match, eliminating them in the opening round for the first time in 80 years.

They also lost their opening group match 1-0 to Mexico before managing a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden.

“Everything that was good four years ago in Brazil was going badly in Russia,” Matthaeus said.

“For this, the team is now in the plane on the way to Germany and I think this is exactly the result they have to get after the three performances that they had here during the World Cup.”

Reporting by Catherine Koppel, Writing by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond

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