SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Germany will need to transform from a schoolboy team to a fighting unit if they are to have any chance of progressing in the World Cup, midfielder Sami Khedira said on Thursday.
The reigning world champions suffered a shock opening Group F defeat by Mexico, leaving their hopes of making the knockout stage in the balance.
They must now beat the Swedes, who have three points, on Saturday as any other result could potentially see them eliminated. Germany play South Korea in their last group game.
“Even if we change the complete team now, if we play with the same attitude and the same intensity then we will have problems,” Khedira told reporters.
“We have to be more compact in every part of our team. We have to play smarter.”
The Germans, far too passive, were caught napping by the quick Mexicans, who scored a first-half winner after a fine counter-attack and whose coach Juan Carlos Osorio had outlined this exact strategy to the media a day before the game.
“We played like schoolboys,” Khedira said, “We were caught out. This is something that can be changed.”
Several team discussions have taken place since but Khedira said they were not playing the blame game.
“The atmosphere was tense but not bad (in those discussions),” he said. “We did not blame each other. We tried to analyze things together and what we need to improve. We did not point any fingers. We need to be 11 warriors on the pitch.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond