Teen ignites, but without purpose
Flick may no longer replace this Musiala
By David Needy, Doha
11/23/2022, 6:18 PM
Jamal Musiala, Germany’s super-teenager: The Bayern professional shows breathtaking dribbles, ball touches and goal threats against Japan, which are urgently needed in the DFB team. But the 19-year-old forgives several times in the final. That needs to change – but you can’t replace it anymore.
Jamal Musiala has long since cleared the first hurdle to become world famous. The international media has long been interested in the exceptional 19-year-old striker. This is of course also due to his past in the English U-national teams. And the ever-improving performance in the Bundesliga. Before the World Cup kick-off of the German national team in Qatar, the Messi comparisons, which have become almost a tradition, resurface. Lothar Matthäus recently spoke of “magic” and was enthusiastic: “This is Hollywood” when the teenager, who “should never leave FC Bayern”, overrun FC Schalke.
Oh well. Firstly, the Munich pro is playing his first World Cup game against Japan before he could become another footballer or a wizard (and he shouldn’t). The start of the World Cup went horribly wrong with 1:2 (1:0). Musiala will not have been happy to become the youngest German World Cup kicker in 64 years by playing in the starting eleven. Back then, in 1958, Karl-Heinz-Schnellinger was a few months younger. This record then went to Youssoufa Moukoko when the 18-year-old came on in the closing minutes.
First you notice Musiala’s nervousness. In the first minute he broke through on the left against two Japanese and a pass to Serge Gnabry would have created a good chance. But the attacking man then wasted balls again and again. But at least he is the only one in the German national team who increasingly dribbles offensively. In the first half, 93 percent of his passes come across and even under pressure he can always be played as a receiver due to his incredibly strong ball control.
Double passes and a brilliant moment
Musiala soon shakes off her excitement. It’s nowhere near “magic”, but the label “trying” becomes “skillful”. Midway through the first half, İlkay Gündoğan makes a strong heel pass to Bayern, who are knocked over in the penalty area, but the referee lets the lead run. Joshua Kimmich’s beam will be Germany’s best chance yet.
Germany is still struggling offensively, but if anything succeeds, it is through Musiala: he initiates a nice combination with David Raum and Kimmich, but his shot attempt is blocked. The agile 19-year-old is also always available for double passes, the DFB-Elf getting stronger and stronger. And so, in the 33rd minute, Musiala found himself in his first World Cup celebration after Gündoğan converted the penalty to make it 1-0.
Shortly before the break, Musiala was rated “very good”. In a one-two with space, he brings the ball to Müller in the penalty area and Kimmich taps it over the goal. There would have been more. Then in the 45th the first real Messi uh Musiala moment: with a horizontal pass, the player from Munich is passed to the edge of the penalty area, a touch of the ball and a rotation on its own axis sends the opponent brutally running into the void and Musiala immediately pulls with his right hand – the ball rushes over the beams. Muller applauds.
Madness, what a dribble!
It is Musiala’s small, but always fine ball contacts and clever body tricks that give him a few centimeters of space. He rarely needs more – which is exactly what the German game increasingly needs. Something similar has been lacking since the abdication of Mesut Ozil.
The alleged 2-0 was also due to one of these fine ball contacts: Musiala used a hard and high ball on the halfway line extremely well technically, skilfully dripping it directly on Serge Gnabry. The number 10 takes the teenager again, whose pass ends up with Thomas Müller and Kai Havertz pushes in through the middle at one point – but the Londoner is offside.
And then comes the scene they have been waiting for in Germany (and also internationally). The power dribbler starts his brilliant moment. Nothing with Messi, this is Jamal Musiala. The Bayern pro guides the ball very carefully as it enters the penalty area. Few body tricks make two, then three, then four, then five Japanese cum. Insanity! Musiala still dribbles through the box, feigns a shot, hooks up again and hits the ball across the box. What a start, what a body and ball control. That was perhaps the best German dribble since Thomas “Icke” Häßler. Wow. Only he does not put the ball in in this 51st minute.
The first World Cup could be over
And that is the crux of this phase. In this game. Musiala is involved in almost all good offensive actions of the German team, only the 2-0 does not want to fall. And as it is in football, revenge is needed. Shortly afterwards, the bell rang in Manuel Neuer’s goal. Musiala grabs a water bottle and says a few words to Gnabry.
That was it for his first appearance at the World Cup, he received some words of praise and a friendly round of applause from coach Flick. But this substitution mistake by the national coach takes revenge. Germany then lacks a ball processor that can always be played offensively (Gündoğan is missing in the center for the same reasons). Even if Musiala’s runs and dribbles fail to score; he tears up spaces, he moves the opponent, he keeps the ball in his own ranks with simple passes.
Without this toolbox, the team of 1:2 – and Flick can’t think of anything. The Bayern pro has to watch it all from the bench, his dribbling can only help the DFB team again in the game against Spain. But then the shots have to sit, otherwise it will probably only be three games for the super-teenager at his first world championship. In its current form, you can not replace a Jamal Musiala in any case.