Now 31, Toni Kroos is one of the senior figures in the Germany side that will kick off UEFA EURO 2020.
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has lamented his team being placed in the ‘Group of Death’ in the ongoing Euro 2020, with Portugal, France and Hungary the other opponents. Kroos is one of the senior players in the Germany side at the age of 31, and will be looking to mark the conclusion of manager Joachim Loew’s 15-year reign as national coach, with the team’s first UEFA European Championship success since 1996.
Germany have come very close to winning the Euros in previous editions, finishing as the runners-up in 2008, then losing semi-finalists in the last two tournaments.
“I don’t think it could have been any tougher. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to it. These are the kinds of matches you would expect from the quarter-finals or semi-finals onwards. But that’s the way it is now. It’ll be important that we get into our best form right away, otherwise it’ll be very difficult to make it far,” he said as quoted by UEFA’s official website.
“I think [this generation] is very strong. Except for a couple of games – and it’s normal that there are setbacks after the changes we’ve had – we’re on a good path. You look at where the players are playing, which says a lot, and the majority of them also have a very important role at big clubs, whether it’s Bayern or big clubs in other countries. I think that says everything about the quality,” he added.
Kroos further discussed Germany’s drought in the Euros since 1996, terming tough competition from other talented teams as a prime factor.
“Why haven’t Germany won more EUROs since 1996? Well, first and foremost, because there were other talented teams. Germany have shown in recent European Championships that they were always among the favourites – if you make it to the semi-finals or even the final, you count as a favourite and you’ve demonstrated it. But there are other teams with very high quality that have the same goal,” he said.
“In the semi-finals or final, it’s always about which team performs better on the day and the events that occur during the match, which you can’t always foresee or prepare for. I recall 2016 against France, when we were the better team [in the semi-final]. With one unlucky moment – a penalty against us – they went 1-0 up and it was hard to get back into the game. So there are certain situations you can’t prepare for, and that is also a good thing, but I think we’ve shown in the last Championships that we’re able to make it far. Fifteen years [in charge] says it all because a coach doesn’t last that long if he doesn’t succeed. As for me, he’s been my only national team coach, which again says it all. His development and mine – I’ve been part of the team for 11 years now – stands for itself. It’s been a successful time together,” concluded the midfielder.
It will be interesting to note the performance of Germany in Euro 2020.