Former Bayern Munich and Germany defender Holger Badstuber has said that the national team cannot rely on captain Manuel Neuer "to save everything" in his first exclusive column for Eurosport Germany.
Badstuber will be giving his thoughts on the World Cup throughout the tournament and in his first one he has discussed the German national team and the importance of their structure.
He explained that one of the first things he will be looking for is the importance of structure within the team. Saying that it's vital for all the players to help out in the defensive phases of the game.
Badstuber exclusive: Arrogance could be only thing to stop France at World Cup
"Against Japan, it will become clear whether the team has what makes a good tournament team a favourite: Balance. A successful performance requires a good structure.
"The defensive players play a key role in this. Led by Manuel Neuer in goal, via the centre backs and defensive midfielders, they must ensure that the many good creative players in attack also work consistently towards the back. They must create an environment in which it is natural for everyone to work defensively. In the successful tournaments of the past, this is what made us different.
- European teams abandon One Love armband protest under FIFA pressure
- Ronaldo says he is 'bullet proof', addresses reported rift with Fernandes in surprise press briefing
- World Cup 2022 LIVE – One Love armband abandoned, Ronaldo bites back, Maguire to start
"Working hard at the back and defending aggressively is, on the one hand, the biggest challenge, and on the other hand, the decisive answer to the question of how far the Mannschaft can go in Qatar.
"A lot is possible and a structure can also grow from game to game, but compared to the performances in the past matches, everyone has to step it up a notch! The entire structure was still too unstable - especially on the wings. Too many big chances were allowed.
Even Neuer, the best goalkeeper in the world, can't save everything.
"On the offensive side, the quality is unbelievable, so I'm not worried at all. It's all about the right combination and that the fast players complement each other well and find a flow."
Badstuber, who won 30 caps for Germany, also spoke about the importance of handling the pressure. He highlighted in particular some of the senior players who he himself played alongside, and the important role they will play.
Neuer en rueda de prensa
Image credit: Getty Images
"No matter how heated the debate is about this World Cup, in 2010 in South Africa, as part of the German national team, I experienced for myself what it basically means to be part of such a big tournament. To play in a World Cup, to belong to the elite of your country, is a lifegoal for every player, a satisfaction, a dream.
"It will be the same for the German internationals ahead of Wednesday's start against Japan in Group E - I've already been on the pitch with Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Thilo Kehrer, Mario Götze and Ilkay Gündogan.
"They are now part of a squad that makes an absolutely powerful impression on me. It promises an incredible amount of flexibility. Coach Hansi Flick has the agony of choice. His team can play fast, stand deep, press high, and offer both possession football and counterattacking and switching play at the highest level. The question is: What can Germany do particularly well?"
To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.
Badstuber exclusive: Players lack bite, Germany are no longer a top football nation
Badstuber exclusive: Germany encouraging, Spain real deal and why Fullkrug has to start
Share this article