German players hold clear the air talks

  • Other Sport
  • Monday, 16 Jun 2008

TENERO (Switzerland): Germany’s players held a candid meeting to pick over individual and collective mistakes in their defeat by Croatia, captain Michael Ballack said yesterday.

Ballack refused to give details about the meeting but said the players had spoken honestly and directly after a 2-1 defeat by Croatia left them facing a fight for their Euro 2008 future in today’s Group B game against Austria in Vienna.

“It wasn’t a crisis meeting but players were able to speak more openly away from the coaches,” Ballack said at a news conference on the eve of the Austria match, when Germany will need to avoid defeat to reach the quarter-finals.

“Sometimes you need to talk as footballers do, among ourselves.

“The important thing is that any criticism is constructive. You are not out to run anybody down but sometimes you have to say things with a rough edge.”

Germany played well enough in a 2-0 win over Poland in their opening Group B game but there was a great dip in performance in the Croatia match.

Ballack recognised that he was one of the players who had a lot more to offer than he has shown so far.

“I know I can play better and should play better,” Ballack said. “Overall we haven’t played to our full potential yet.

“We’ve resolved to give everything on Monday. We are honest enough to be        self-critical. But let’s look at the positive aspect: at least there’s plenty of room for improvement.” – Reuters

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