During the World Cup 2014 final in Brazil, Joachim Low sent on a 22-year-old Mario Gotze against Argentina with the words: ‘show the world you’re better than (Lionel) Messi‘.
Despite Gotze going on to strike the winning goal in that encounter to win the World Cup, the Germany coach has now admitted to regretting that line as the midfielder has since failed to live up to expectations.
Gotze’s decline has been so drastic that the 25-year-old has been excluded from the squad for 2018 World Cup, which kicks off on June 14 in Russia.
“That sentence was a spontaneous idea,” Low said.
“Whether this was good in hindsight, I do not know.
“In that moment, you don’t think about things that could happen afterwards.
“I made the mistake of making the sentence public afterwards.”
Gotze went down in history when he controlled the ball with his chest before volleying it into the back of the net in the 113th minute of the final four years ago.
However, Gotze’s career hasn’t gone the way many expected as his disappointing three-year spell with Bayern Munich has been followed by two seasons back at Borussia Dortmund riddled with injury.
Low says it was hard to leave the midfielder out of the squad and suggests that his comment didn’t do him any favours as Gotze was “always measured” against Messi since.
“If a player scores the decisive goal in the final at such a young age, it can be a burden later,” added Low.
“This season was not what we have all wished for from Mario Gotze.”
Gotze is determined to win back his place in the German squad.
“Of course I am sad that I won’t be participating at the World Cup, but I will do everything I can to get back into the squad,” Gotze wrote on Twitter.
“I hope the guys, the coaches and the back-room staff have a good time in Russia and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for all of them that they become world champions,” he added.