Toni Kroos has slammed criticism of the Germany team at Euro 2020 by some fans still disgruntled with their performances despite reaching the knockout rounds where they face England in the last 16.
A tension-filled 2-2 draw with Hungary on Wednesday saw Germany progress as second in Group F alongside world champions France and holders Portugal.
Kroos says it was an achievement just to qualify from such a tough group to set up a clash with England at Wembley on Tuesday.
“We are happy to have progressed in this group, which not everyone thought we would,” Kroos said on his podcast ‘Einfach mal Luppen’ (Just lob it).
He is perplexed by criticism of the German team struggling to draw with Hungary, four days after Germany were celebrated as title contenders after a 4-2 thrashing of Portugal.
He described the fans’ fickle reaction to results like “little flags blowing with the wind”.
“After the win over Portugal, you’d have thought we were European champions, now it’s like we don’t deserve to go further.”
Germany twice came from behind against Hungary and were six minutes from elimination until Leon Goretzka’s equaliser.
“We didn’t put in a very confident performance,” Kroos admitted. “We don’t have to fool ourselves. It was close.”
Nevertheless, he insists Germany “deserve” to face England for a place in the quarter-finals and issued a defiant message directly to the team’s doubters.
“We’re in the last 16 – whether you like it or not.”
Kroos is excited to play England as Germany have won each of their last four meetings in the knockout stages of major tournaments.
“We know the stadium, the opponent, the history. There are many reasons to look forward to it,” said Kroos, who “firmly” expects the Germans to advance.