Germany have bowed out of the SheBelieves Cup without winning a single match. The disappointing performances at the tournament are bound ratchet up the pressure on head coach Steffi Jones.
For years defeat was hardly part of the German women's football team's vocabulary. Under the guidance of longtime head coach Silvia Neid, Germany won 125 of their 169 matches, losing just 22 and drawing 22 between 2005 and August 2016, when she stepped down after winning gold at the Rio Summer Olympics.
However, since Steffi Jones took over as Neid's replacement, things haven't been quite as smooth. Under Jones, Germany still have a winning record, but there have been key disappointments along the way, such as when they were knocked out of last summer's Women's Euro by Denmark in the quarterfinals, or last October, when they were upset 3-2 by Iceland in a World Cup-qualifying match in Wiesbaden.
Jones and her team traveled to the United States for this year's SheBelieves Cup hoping that a good set of performances would help build their confidence - and shore up support for her - ahead of next month's qualifying matches for the 2019 World Cup in France. The world's No.2-ranked team will still go into those matches against the 34th-ranked Czech Republic and Slovenia (60) as the clear favorites. However, after what transpired stateside over the last few days, you have to think these rank outsiders like their chances against Germany at least a little better than they did prior to the SheBelieves Cup.
One point from three matches
Having lost to the hosts and favorites, the United States, 1-0 in their opening match in Columbus on Friday, Germany did manage a 2-2 draw against England at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey in their second. On Wednesday night, though, they bowed out of the tournament after they were swept away by France 3-0 in Orlando.
"That was bitter, of course," Jones said. "We need to analyze things and draw our conclusions from that."
While it shouldn't be forgotten that all three of Germany's opponents in the tournament are among the top six in the world, finishing in last place and without a win will do nothing to strengthen the position of a coach, whose job was on the line just last autumn.
In October, the president of the German football association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, who had supported Jones from the start, complained that her team's performances hadn't improved since the Women's Euro - and were even getting worse.
A strong 4-0 win over France in Germany's last game of 2017 pretty much saved her job, and bought her some breathing space. However, following the SheBelieves Cup, you have to think she can afford no more missteps on the way to the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.