World Cup 2022: Germany's game against Spain is 'first final', says coach Hansi Flick

Germany coach Hansi Flick speaks to the media in Qatar ahead of his side's World Cup clash against Spain.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Germany coach Hansi Flick says Sunday's Group E clash with Spain is a 'first final' for his side as the four-time champions fight to stay in the World Cup following their surprise defeat to Japan earlier this week.

Flick's side led Japan in their World Cup opener in Qatar on Wednesday, but conceded twice in the second half in a shock 2-1 defeat and are now staring at a possible second successive group-stage exit in the game's greatest tournament.

Under previous coach Joachim Low, Germany won the World Cup in 2014, but did not make it out of the group at Russia 2018.

Asked in his pre-match press conference if Germany's reputation as a highly feared tournament team was still intact, Flick said: "This will be answered on Sunday. Maybe we have another answer to that question, the right answer."

And he added: "The last two tournaments were not [good]. We want to avoid a repeat of this. The focus is on concentration. This is the first final for us at the World Cup and that's what it's about – to avoid a repeat of that."

Germany are up against a Spain side full of confidence following their emphatic 7-0 win over Costa Rica on Wednesday.

But Flick said: "We will continue down our road because we believe in the quality of the team and that it can apply the things we want. We have courage and belief going into the game."

Winger Leroy Sane is an injury doubt for the Group E game.

"We have to wait for final training and afterwards we can say more [about Sane]," Flick said. "It is good news that he can train. Our medics did a lot of good work and we will see how the training goes."

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.