Toni Kroos aims to prove Germany’s doubters wrong in its Euro 2020 opener against world champion France on Tuesday. Germany has its work cut out in Group F at the European Championship with holder Portugal and Hungary to come after the mouth-watering tie against the French in Munich.
Kroos has bounced back after testing positive for Covid-19 last month and played in Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Latvia on Monday in its final friendly warm-up.
Yet the Germans have struggled to recover from the humiliation of crashing out of the group stages at the 2018 World Cup and Kroos knows the team has a point to prove.
“We don’t have to hide against France. Both squads are strong,” Kroos said on Friday at the German base in Bavaria. “Before the 2018 (World Cup) tournament, we were made out to be stronger than we were, now it’s different.”
The Germans are bidding to win a record fourth European Championship title on Joachim Loew’s swansong after 15 years as head coach, yet confidence in the ‘Mannschaft’ remains low.
Morale among German fans was further dented this season by humbling defeats to Spain and North Macedonia. Uncharacteristically, the German defence, normally the side’s main strength, is shaky having leaked 20 goals in its last 13 internationals.
While France has climbed to second in the world rankings, just behind Belgium, Germany has dropped to 12th position. As a result, Real Madrid veteran Kroos says the Mannschaft wants to throw down a marker and are “looking forward” to facing the French.
The 31-year-old expects Germany to win “every single game” of the European Championship. “I’ll never start a tournament with the expectation ‘let’s just win a few points’. If that was case, I wouldn’t be back,” Kroos insisted.