Commentary: The national team is looking for winning self-confidence

Hansi Flick’s national team is the best thing that can happen to the German public at the moment. If she always won, it would get boring at some point, and coach Flick would be honored in detail and his merits compared to the overestimated Jogi Löw’s omissions. On the other hand, if Flick’s eleven were to collect defeats, the coach’s mistakes would be sought, and some might even have the idea of ​​mourning the underestimated coach Löw. But the thrust of the debate would be known and would not surprise anyone.

In this sense, the national team is now doing all the discussants a great favor. In the all-important question “How’s it going?” this eleven and their coach can be interpreted in a wonderfully controversial way: Has Hansi Flick been unbeaten since taking office? Or is he without a win?

The answer is: both. Since Flick took office in September 2021, he has not yet had to declare defeat. But he has never won against one of the so-called big opponents – the Netherlands, Italy, England. The games ended 1-1, 1-1, and 1-1, and each reviewer is free to choose what that means depending on their taste.

The news of the day now results from a survey of an interest group, which would have been assumed to be more benevolent in its judgment. Regardless of the result, in two of these three games it became clear that Flick has a highly attractive moment team that has not yet had many very good moments available for more than 90 minutes. Thomas Müller tasted “a bitter note” from the 1-1 draw against England, and goal scorer Jonas Hofmann found the result “extremely stupid” and said: “We struggle with it.”

Players don’t want clues, they need concrete facts

In a first reflex, the ambition of the team could be praised, which has already made the high standards of the coach Flick their own. More interesting, however, is the insight into the special psychology of this sport: Just as one was recently able to learn how strong “appreciation” in a players’ cabin works via the salary comparison with the next seater, one now understands how much the mere game result affects the complex self-image of a group influenced. You need the “victory self-confidence” again – Thomas Müller brought the magic of the result to this term. Of course the players see their progress, they feel on the pitch that they are competitive at the highest level. But the players don’t want any clues, they need concrete facts. They only really believe when the result shows them the necessary appreciation.

This self-affirmation is now at stake in the next few days, it means more to the players than any tactical insights. A win against Italy on Tuesday would be more important for the feeling with which this eleven travels to the World Cup in November than a place in any Nations League.

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