Germans thought more about LGBT issues than football – coaching icon
Germany’s early exit from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is a “serious failure” for the nation, according to former Russian national team coach Valery Gazzaev. He accused the country's players of spending more time on LGBT issues than football.
Germany suffered a second successive group-stage departure at the World Cup when Japan’s victory over Spain on Thursday night meant that Hansi Flick’s team were packing their bags despite earning a win over Costa Rica.
Since triumphing at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Germany have now fallen at the first hurdle in both the Russian and Qatari editions of the tournament.
“When a team like Germany doesn’t make it out of the group for the second World Cup in a row, it’s a sign of failure in German football,” said Gazzaev in an interview with Championat.
“I think that German football will draw the appropriate conclusions. This is definitely a failure. Germany have always been on the list of favorites for major international tournaments, whether it’s the Euros or the World Cup.
“For the past two years, the team has shown an extremely low level in terms of the game and the results.
“Hence the failure that happens for the second World Cup in a row. But it is worth noting that today there are teams in Qatar that are much stronger,” added Gazzaev, who led CSKA Moscow to the UEFA Cup title in 2005.
Gazzaev, 68, said that he expects “huge changes” in German football – not least as the country is hosting the 2024 UEFA European Championships.
“To sum up, at this particular World Cup, the impression was that the German national team at the 2022 World Cup devoted more time to LGBT issues than football,” added Gazzaev scathingly.
The build-up to Germany’s participation in Qatar was accompanied by discussions surrounding the team’s plan for captain Manuel Neuer to wear a ‘One Love’ rainbow armband in support of LGBT rights.
FIFA threatened sanctions against the Germans and six other European nations planning to make the step – prompting them to back down.
Instead, FIFA unveiled its own armbands for the tournament with a series of slogans including ‘No discrimination’, ‘Football unites the world’, and ‘Protect children’.
German players responded by covering their mouths for the team photo ahead of their opening game against Japan – suggesting they had been ‘gagged’ from sharing their support for gay rights in the strictly Muslim World Cup host country. Germany went on to lose that game 2-1.
Some fans in Qatar took to trolling the German team for their protest by holding up banners of former international star Mesut Ozil.
Ozil quit the German team after the World Cup in Russia, accusing the national media of making him a scapegoat and saying he was the victim of racism in Germany due to his Turkish roots.
Footage from Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday, where Germany beat Costa Rica but still crashed out of the World Cup, showed angry confrontations with Die Mannschaft fans and people holding up posters of Ozil.
Other figures in Qatar also rubbed salt into the German wounds, mocking the German protests while waving the team goodbye.