After Germany's Olympic debut received widespread panning in the country's press, two of the team's veterans made clear that they had no intention of giving up hopes for a medal.
|Benjamin Henrichs.||Photo: Эдгар Брещанов/Soccer.ru/CC-by-SA 3.0|
Germany's reduced Olympic squad lost more than their opening match in the men's tournament on Thursday. Captain Maximilian Arnold also drops out of the team after being sent off on double yellows in the 2-4 defeat to Brazil. On Friday, head-coach Stefan Kuntz announced that another one of the team's other overage veterans would take the armband for Sunday's fixture against Saudi Arabia. Unsurprisingly, it's the ever outspoken Max Kruse who will serve as skipper.
Much like Kuntz, Kruse didn't mince words after Thursday's defeat. He did nevertheless strike a much more optimistic tone when reflecting on the second half.
"We were always a tad late and not into the game as we wanted to be," the 33-year-old said afterwards, "What's positive is that we didn't give up in the second half and stepped it up significantly. We have to build on that and take what little positives we can from it."
Teammate Benjamin Henrichs was similarly dissatisfied with the team's performance.
"We ceded far too much space," the defender noted, "The Brazilians were all alone in front of [keeper Florian] Müller on every long ball. We can thank him [Florian Müller] for the fact that the scoreline wasn't much higher. The way we played in the first half was a joke."
Like Kruse, Henrichs emphasized that there were positives to build upon.
"We can build on the second half," the Leipzig man said, "We weren't well practiced, but can find ourselves. We played much better."
Kruse conceded that Sunday's match was "absolutely a final". When pressed about whether Germany's hopes for a medal were finished, Henrichs emphatically replied, "absolutely not!"