Germany spent yesterday recovering from one of the strangest results in international football over the last few years.
Joachim Löw's team, arguably the second-likeliest European side to succeed in Brazil in 2014, were 4-0 up against Sweden with 28 minutes left. Just four days after their 6-1 win in Dublin, they looked like a side playing at the peak of their capacity.
But, somehow, they collapsed and drew 4-4. "Jogi, that was stupid" was the headline on the German newspaper Bild yesterday morning.
"I am in a state of shock," Löw said afterwards. "For us this should be a life lesson. A lesson in how one should finish off a game. I simply have no explanation for what happened.
"I never expected to see my team thrown off rhythm like that," the German coach added. "It was something that had to do with their head and we are all bitterly disappointed. But we will not be thrown off track. This may be a game where you can learn something for life."
The result raises more serious questions about the mentality of the German side. They were tipped by many to win Euro 2012 but collapsed in their semi-final against Italy and were well-beaten 2-1.
They also lost the final of Euro 2008, and went out in the semi-finals of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Meanwhile Bayern Munich, who provide the core of the German national team, lost the 2010 and 2012 Champions League finals.
"60 Minutes Heaven, 30 Minutes Hell" described the online version of Der Spiegel. "All debate on the deficiencies of the German XI will now start again."
The team manager, Oliver Bierhoff, was understandably unimpressed, saying: "It is important that we do not return to our daily routines but that we analyse this game in the cold light of day."
Game of two halves: How papers saw it
Expressen (Sweden) "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Der Spiegel "60 minutes heaven, 30 minutes hell"
Bild "Derision for Jogi's boys"
Die Welt "The many errors of Löw, Lahm and Neuer"
Das Handelsblatt "World-class offensive, defensive chaos"
Die Zeit "Joachim Löw, a victim of chance. A 4-4 is not a crisis"Reuse content