Kai Havertz says Germany must put their foot on the accelerator against Spain on Sunday and has admitted he did not do his “bloody duty” when failing to score in the shock 2-1 loss to Japan.
Hansi Flick’s side, who must beat Spain to keep control of their World Cup destiny, had a frank team meeting after Wednesday’s defeat. “We have analysed the game very well and seen our shortcomings and the areas we need to get better in,” said Havertz. “Now we have to approach [Spain] as a true team and put our foot on the accelerator in a crunch game, but we will be prepared.”
The Chelsea forward called for unity against Spain, who beat Costa Rica 7-0 in their first match. “We had a fruitful exchange of views,” he said. “When we left, the feeling was that we have overriding willpower to decide the game in our favour. I felt irate at our performance. Sooner or later that gives way to a more clear or objective view that will be replaced by anticipation.
“Everyone needs to pull their weight and get back to a positive stride. A 7-0 win is a clear signal and we have great respect for the Spain team, we know they have quality but will we hide? Not at all.
“We just need to put it on pitch. Now is the time to speak to each other and tell each other the truth and that is what makes the team stronger. In the end we have good personalities and like to talk to each other face to face. Now we are in a bad moment but that can switch around quite fast. It can be the turning point for us. It is a big game. I am lucky I played a few big games at Chelsea.”
Havertz has no issue with the criticism offered by Manuel Neuer and Ilkay Gündogan of their teammates. “It was very constructive,” he said. “They didn’t tear into us as the media makes out. We went into the dressing room with heads low and shoulders dropped. I can understand that. Of course we talked about what went wrong.
“Ilkay complained that people went into hiding, he said our offensive players failed to score a second or third goal. Whether it is made in public or internally does not matter. Sometimes it is a little soundbite that people extract from a longer interview.”
Havertz, who can play across the attack or as No 10, was honest when assessing his role as the No 9 against Japan. “I like playing centre-forward but when put in that position it is your bloody duty to score goals which I didn’t do against Japan,” he said. “I recognise that. Put in the same position on Sunday I will do everything in my power to help the team.”
Germany lined up for a photograph with their hands over their mouths before the Japan game in protest against Fifa ordering that seven European nations’ captains could not wear the OneLove armband but there are no plans for further action. “We made our point very clear in the last few days and to be honest it is hard to speak again about it,” Havertz said. “Everyone knows our point of view so our focus now is 100% on football.”
Julian Brandt, an unused substitute against Japan, was succinct regarding the scale of Germany’s challenge against Spain. “We are verbally in a shitting situation,” the winger said.