MOSCOW — Philipp Lahm expects World Cup holders Germany to pull together after their 1-0 opening defeat at the hands of Mexico and to find “a common path towards the right solution” for their tactical problems.
Speaking to ESPN FC in his role as ambassador of Germany’s Euro 2024 bid, the 34-year-old captain of the 2014 winners said the team faced similar difficulties in 2010 and four years ago, when poor results in their second games (against Serbia and Ghana, respectively) had put their progress from the group stage temporarily in doubt.
“We have seen it before: sometimes a negative result can have a positive effect,” Lahm said. “Maybe the experienced players in the squad needed that that extra bit of pressure, that feeling of having their backs to the wall. Losing vs Mexico can unify the team even more and bring the core of the side closer together.
“You can’t push a button and say: here’s the team spirit. But a defeat like this can get anyone a little more involved. The players will talk more over their next few days about the tactics and the analysis. This is a team that’s self-critical. They’re capable of evaluating their own performances. The task is now to support each other and stand united.”
Lahm added that Joachim Low’s experience as manager — this is his sixth major tournament in charge of the national team — would play a key role in dealing with this difficult situation, as the team cancelled all media activities on Monday because of harsh criticism from the German press following Sunday’s loss.
Lahm said: “He will listen to his team, talk to the seasoned players and then make up his mind by himself. They will get it right. I expect Germany to win their next two games. They are still contenders to win the World Cup.”
While most of the German media has naturally concentrated on Die Nationalmannschaft’s shortcomings in their first game in Russia, Lahm praised Juan Carlos Osorio’s Mexico for a “very impressive” performance.
He said: “They were very good, they played a very clever game. You saw that there was a united team on the pitch who were very aggressive from the very first minute and knew exactly what was at stake. It was very impressive, I have to say that.”
Raphael Honigstein is ESPN FC’s German football expert and author of “Bring the Noise: The Jurgen Klopp Story.” Follow: @honigstein