A Cornerstone of the German National Team: Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos has been one of the most underrated players in the history of football, and people need to take his return to the German national team more seriously.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cover Image
By Celise Lin

The date was June 29, 2021. The final whistle blew in Wembley Stadium. The English fans ecstatically rose out of their seats, while the Germans sat still, expressionless. Goals from forwards Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane helped England advance to the next round of the knockouts. This defeat, however, eliminated Germany from the competition. Having lost 2-0 to France in the semi-finals of the previous Euros in 2016, the pressure was on Germany to succeed in 2020. Therefore, after losing at a similar stage of Euro 2020, the players and management again faced heavy criticism. Unlike any criticism before, however, the loss marked the end of an era for an important player of the national team—or so people thought.

Via a social media post, midfielder Toni Kroos announced his retirement from the German national team: “I’ve played for Germany 106 times. There won’t be another time. I would have dearly wished, and I gave everything again, that there would have been 109 international [games] in the end, and that this one big title, the European championship, would have been added,” he said in his post. For the rest of the German national team, the next major tournament was the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

A group consisting of Spain, Costa Rica, and Japan posed a tall task for Germany to overcome in their quest for international success. In the end, the challenge proved to be too big for them, as they failed to even reach the knockout rounds. It was a huge letdown for the whole country, especially for a nation with such a rich footballing history and one expected to consistently reach the latter stages of every major tournament. Once again, hopes had to be delayed to the next tournament, which will be the Euros this year. 

However, the news was not all bad for fans of Die Mannschaft. In a shocking twist, Kroos recently came out of retirement from international duty. “Guys, short and painless: I will play for Germany again from March. Why? Because I was asked by the national coach, I’m up for it, and I’m sure that a lot more is possible with this team at the European Championship than most people believe,” he said. The announcement certainly comes at a convenient time for Germany, who have one of their best young squads in a long time with the youthful talent of wingers Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala.

With Kroos, a lot more is possible. He brings so much experience to a youthful German squad filled with talent. He is a born winner, having won virtually every trophy in the soccer world. His presence showed within seven seconds of his return to the German national team, setting up Wirtz for a smashing strike against France and subsequently leading his side to wins against both France and the Netherlands. It is everything Germany could have hoped for and more, as they look to reverse their string of bad results and get their hands on silverware.

As head coach of the German national team Julian Nagelsmann stated in a press conference, “[Kroos] knows what he can do. On the other hand, he also knows what he can’t do. He has a very good instinct, a good calmness. He can be a brilliant link between defense and attack.

With the Euros approaching this year, any sort of experience is positive to the German squad, and who better to have in the midfield than one of the true maestros and veterans of the game: Kroos. The talent may be sufficient to bring Germany out of the group stages, but the real stage is in the elimination rounds, where they will be forced to fight hard for each win. They will face setbacks and challenges. However, having someone who is a four-time Champions League winner, five-time Club World Cup winner, four-time UEFA Super Cup winner, three-time LaLiga winner, one-time Copa Del Rey winner, and four-time Spanish Supercopa winner will help propel Die Mannschaft forward in their trophy quest.