Spain on Tuesday dealt Germany their worst defeat in 89 years with a stunning 6-0 victory in Seville to qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals, joining France, who came from behind to beat Sweden 4-2.
Germany have not been beaten so heavily since losing to Austria by the same scoreline in a friendly in 1931.
“That hurt,” German midfielder Toni Kroos said. “The Spanish team showed us at every turn how it’s done — with and without the ball.”
“There are no excuses. Now we know where we stand,” Serge Gnabry added.
Spain were as sublime as Germany were abysmal in Seville, where Ferran Torres scored a brilliant hat-trick to justify his reputation as one of soccer’s most exciting prospects.
Alvaro Morata and Rodri were also on target to make it 3-0 even before halftime, and while Sergio Ramos went off with a hamstring strain, Germany failed to stem the tide.
Instead, Torres grabbed two more and Mikel Oyarzabal added a sixth late on to put the finishing touches to Germany’s second-heaviest defeat ever — the only one worse being a 9-0 loss at the hands of the England Amateurs in 1909.
Coach Joachim Loew oversaw Germany winning the World Cup in 2014, but after 14 years in charge, even he is likely to face serious pressure after a humiliation like this.
“It was a night where we did nothing well, We lost every important battle,” Loew said.
Asked if his job was under threat, Loew said: “I trust the players. They are a young team. I am not worried about my job.”
Yet just as the result will spark a period of German introspection, Spain finally produced a performance under Luis Enrique to give them hope of being genuine contenders at next summer’s UEFA Euro 2020. They join France in the Nations League final four, to be played in October next year.
“It was one of the best and most complete matches of the Spanish national team,” Luis Enrique said.
France finished off their League A, Group 3 campaign by beating Sweden behind closed doors at the Stade de France as Olivier Giroud continued his remarkable scoring record for Les Bleus with a brace.
Viktor Claesson’s deflected early strike gave Sweden the lead, but Giroud soon equalized and Benjamin Pavard put France ahead before halftime.
Giroud then headed in Kylian Mbappe’s cross to make it 3-1 before the hour mark, and Kingsley Coman scored France’s final goal at the death after Robin Quaison had netted Sweden’s second.
Having recently overtaken Michel Platini’s tally of 41 goals for Les Bleus, Giroud is now on 44 and is closing in on Thierry Henry’s overall record of 51.
The 34-year-old remains a key player for France despite being on the periphery with his club Chelsea, for whom he has started just once this season, in the EFL Cup.
Sweden finished bottom of the group behind Croatia and are relegated to the second-tier League B for the next edition of the competition.
That is despite 10-man Croatia losing 3-2 at home to Portugal in Split, with Manchester City defender Ruben Dias getting a 90th-minute winner for last year’s Nations League champions.
Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic had scored twice for Croatia, either side of Dias’ first of the night and a Joao Felix effort for Portugal, who featured Cristiano Ronaldo wearing the captain’s armband.
Marko Rog was sent off for Croatia.
Tuesday’s other scheduled Group 4 game between Switzerland and Ukraine in Lucerne was postponed after six COVID-19 cases in the Ukraine squad led to their entire delegation being ordered into quarantine by Swiss health authorities.
Elsewhere, Montenegro’s 4-0 victory over Cyprus saw them top League C, Group 1 and win promotion to League B. Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands won promotion to League C.
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