Many woke up to the news this morning that the German Football Association (DFB) had relieved Steffi Jones of her duties with Germany effective immediately. Jones' position will be filled by Horst Hrubesch until a new manager has been hired. The decision was made by the presidential board after taking on advice from team co-ordinator Oliver Bierhoff and sporting director Joti Chatzialexiou.
The news does not come as a surprise to many who have seen just how far Germany has fallen since the Rio Olympics and it seemed only a matter of time before the DFB acted after a disappointing SheBelieves Cup run by Germany recently.
Bierhoff believes the time was right to make a change
Oliver Bierhoff gave a few statements to the DFB's official website in reaction to the removal of Jones as the manager of the women's team. Bierhoff explained that the decision was made after a "result of intensive analysis over the past months" and that although the association wanted to continue on working with Jones, the assessment of what was happening on the pitch as well as the mixed results at the SheBelieves Cup and during World Cup qualifiers had essentially forced their hands.
Hrubesch, who led the men's U21 team to a Silver medal at the previous Olympics, seemed ready to take over this new role as interim manager. He stated that he's "happy to help out" and is "delighted" to have the support of his staff, Uli Ballweg and Thomas Nörenberg, for the upcoming qualifiers.
Both DFB president Reinhard Grindel and DFB vice president of women's football, Hannelore Ratzeburg, thanked Jones for her commitment with the national team. Ratzeburg also hoped that the change of leadership would give the team "fresh impetus and help them return to their old strengths and confidence levels as soon as possible".
A failed experiment brings the end of Jones
Jones came into the role after Silvia Neid had decided to call time on her coaching career and the general consensus was, can she do the necessary job without any previous coaching experience? The DFB seemed to think so and urged many to give her time as various issues arose leading up to and after the 2017 UEFA Women's Euro. During the qualification process, Jones made several questionable roster choices where veteran players were seemingly frozen out of the national team setup, which brought even more questions about her management but again, the DFB seemed content to let Jones' see out her plans. That began to change after a quarter-final exit at Euro 2017 where Germany's performances were uninspiring at best.
The DFB also cited the World Cup qualification loss to Iceland as another problem they had with Jones' tenure in their press release. Germany will now have to travel to Iceland and win in order to make the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. The final nail in the coffin was the third-place finish Germany achieved at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup which came due to a loss against the United States of America, a win against England and a draw against France.
There was too much evidence against Jones now and the DFB made the call to remove her before Germany failed to make the World Cup, making Jones the only coach in Germany's history to fail to win a major tournament during their tenure.
Quotes via Dfb.de