The DFB-Elf on the way to the preliminary round in Qatar? "Desolate". The leadership of the German Football Association? "Awkward". Handball official Bob Hanning chooses drastic words to evaluate the German performance at the World Cup. For him, however, the problem lies much deeper.
Handball manager Bob Hanning sharply criticized the German national football team for the poor performance at the World Cup in Qatar and also cited social reasons. The managing director of Bundesliga leaders Füchse Berlin and former vice-president of the German Handball Federation wrote in an essay for the "Tagesspiegel" that he could not "remember a similarly dismal tournament appearance" by a DFB selection.
His verdict: "Without fire. Without zeal. Without ambition. Without guts. Always feel a bit over the top, as if you think you're doing something better."
The DFB leadership also got their fat off after the embarrassing preliminary round. You have failed to focus the team on the essentials - the sport. Hanning was alluding to the debate about the "One Love" captain's armband, which was banned by the World Football Association.
In his view, the decision should have been made either to boycott the World Cup or to seek dialogue on the spot, "without acting as a value police force and spreading everything out on the media stage. The German delegation took neither of these to heart and instead opted for an embarrassing lurching course," complained Hanning. This gave the impression that marketing interests took precedence over supposed convictions, and "show and appearances over the credible interest in initiating changes".
In general, Hanning warned against "stylizing sport as a moralizer about social issues. Sport cannot and must not (want) to do things that politics cannot do with its perfidious double standards we can only get upset on these issues". His conclusion: "The German Football Association and its team gave a worrying picture at the World Cup. A radical rethink must take place, otherwise we will dismantle ourselves."
(This article was first published on Friday, December 09, 2022.)