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Toni Kroos slams Germany for early World Cup exit

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Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has criticised the German national team for failing to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for a second tournament running.


Kroos played an integral role on Germany’s way to glory in 2014, but he was also part of the contingent who were dumped out of the group stage in 2018.

Kroos retired from international football last year, so this was Germany’s first tournament without their star playmaker since Euro 2008, but they crashed out at the first hurdle once more.

Speaking to MagentaTV, Kroos was critical of his country’s setup given their obvious talent across the pitch.

“I know the boys, I played with them until last year. I experienced a group stage exit too four years ago, and of course I can sympathise a lot with them. I was extremely disappointed because I had big ambitions for Germany and I absolutely saw opportunities,” he said.

“With the players we have, we should definitely be advancing from the group stage. If we get eliminated by Brazil in the quarter-finals, then we can say, ‘OK, Brazil had maybe eight world-class players and we only had four’. But nobody can tell me that we have less quality than Japan and that’s why we’re eliminated.”

Kroos continued: “One of the main tasks for the next tournament is to have a clear 11 of starting players, or at least 13 to 14. We have to play as many games as possible with the same team to develop automatisms. You can’t be changing the team every game.

“We have to get to the point where we have a clear eleven with clear automatisms, both offensively and defensively, who know how to react to different situations in-game. When we’ve played 10 to 15 games with the same formation, I’m sure we’d be more resilient.

“Being knocked out in the group twice in a row shouldn’t happen to us. It’s obviously not a problem of quality in my opinion, but a level of familiarity, resilience and automatisms.

“We have leaders and players who are loud on the pitch. Jo Kimmich is sometimes almost too loud. The same goes for Toni Rudiger, Manu [Neuer] from behind, Thomas [Muller]. With their hunger, mentality and quality, they have what it takes to lead the team.”