'We have the quality', says Flick ahead of Spain World Cup clash
Germany's coach Hans-Dieter Flick takes part in a training session at the Al Shamal Stadium in Al Shamal, north of Doha on November 26, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Spain and Germany. (Photo by Ina Fassbender / AFP)

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) -- Germany coach Hansi Flick insisted on Saturday his struggling team have the quality to defeat rampant Spain as they prepared for their do-or-die World Cup clash.

Flick and Germany were left reeling after crashing to a shock opening defeat to Japan in Group E, an upset that has left them staring down the barrel of a first round elimination for a second straight World Cup.

A loss to the Spaniards would see Germany eliminated if Japan avoid defeat against Costa Rica in Sunday's other Group E game.

Flick however is confident that Germany have the talent to reignite their World Cup campaign against a Spanish side that destroyed Costa Rica 7-0 in their first game.

"We have a team that has quality, that can implement the things (we are working on), and we are very positive about it," Flick said.

"We need to arrive with courage and with faith in our quality for this game against Spain."

Flick appeared at Saturday's press conference alone -- a breach of FIFA regulations that requires teams to make a player available to speak to reporters on the eve of each game.

Flick said he appeared solo to avoid one of his players having to make a three-hour round trip from Germany's seaside base camp to Doha.

"We just don't want to expect any player to drive here for so long. It's a total of almost three hours sitting in the car," Flick said.

"We have a very important game tomorrow. I said I'll do it (the press conference) alone because the players - from 1 to 26 - are all important.

"We are currently in a very important phase and they should prepare and train."

Flick meanwhile rejected suggestions that Germany had been distracted ahead of the Japan game because of their decision to protest against FIFA's "One Love" armband ban prior to the game.

"I am able to fade all of the background noise out," Flick said.

"For me, the focus has always been on the football. I am completely convinced of what we are doing."

Flick, who was named German coach after taking Bayern Munich to the sextuple in 2020 including a 1-0 Champions League final win over Paris Saint-Germain, called the match "our first final of this World Cup".

Flick declined to speculate about whether a second consecutive early exit would mean the four-time World Cup winners were no longer part of football's elite.

"The game on Sunday will answer that (whether Germany is still a world footballing power). Maybe we will have a different answer, a better answer, to that question."

Leroy Sane, who missed the first match against Japan with a knee injury, trained again with the team on Saturday but Flick said he would need to check the former Manchester City winger's fitness ahead of the game.

"With Leroy we need to wait and see how he goes," Flick said. "Afterwards we can say more. He is happy that he can train with us again."

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