Thank F*ck It’s All Over: 2018 was a bad year for… Joachim Low

A World Cup win will buy you a fair amount of slack, but the year Jogi Low’s had may have used up most of it….

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Truly, 2018 was an annus horribilis for Joachim Low. Not a single win in a competitive fixture is a record for a national side that even Ireland expect to avoid.

You could wear a gas mask and the German’s 2018 would still stink worse than Munich’s sewage system as Oktoberfest winds down.

And Jogi had to wade through a deluge of stick from fans, press and pundits as his ageing side were flushed out in the group stages at Russia 2018.

Too much loyalty to lieutenants of battles past looks the primary cause, though Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan made themselves very useful scapegoats prior to the tournament.

Even now though, when you look at the group, you’d wonder how the hell they screwed it up so badly.

Plenty of past winners have been caught cold in their opener, but Mexico really ripped Low’s side apart in the first 45 minutes of their campaign.

Toni Kroos performed a minor miracle with his injury time free-kick to rescue the title defence against Sweden, but their sluggish play continued against South Korea and was rewarded with an all-time World Cup upset thanks to a pair of injury time goals for the minnows.

In truth, the signs were there already – and I’m not just talking about Samir Khedira’s rate of expansion in the four years since Brazil.

Friendlies don’t mean much, but you’d always prefer to have a better scalp than Saudi Arabia as your only win since the turn of the year going into a major tournament.

And the stench of failure continued to linger after their early departure.

Ozil announced his international retirement and raised questions about the harmony within the squad and the broader German FA, none of which anyone wants to address.

Low’s also been unfortunate enough to time the worst run in his management career in the year that UEFA launched the Nations League.

Dumped in with two of their fiercest rivals, France and the Netherlands, Low’s losers took two defeats and two draws from their four games, including a 3-0 spanking in Amsterdam.

And this despite working younger players into the stale squad after the Russian calamity.

As Jurgen Klinsmann’s number two, Jogi experienced a massive World Cup crash way back in 2006 when Italy ended their dreams of glory on home soil in the semi-finals, but 2018 will surely leave a fouler taste.

It was nothing short of a humiliation for the team who entered it as world champs and left it with their most embarrassing run of results in a generation.

For Jogi, it;s an achievement in itself to still be in the job, though it’ll take more than a blast of Lynx to cover the whiff that’ll remain.

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