Many would have been the times that Erich Ribbeck questioned the wisdom of his being tempted out of retirement to replace Berti Vogts after the disappointment of France 98.
He has struggled, not only to win acceptance for the many tactical alterations that he brought to bear during the qualifiers and warm-up matches (many it has to be said failed), but he has also been accused of lurking in the shadows while his assistant, Uli Stielike, has been the real decision-maker.
Then again, Ribbeck could hardly have expected a smooth ride after Germany had done their best to make an easy qualifying group look difficult. Their 2-1 warm-up defeat to The Netherlands was their first on Dutch soil in 75 years and was roundly criticised.
Despite coaching just one team to silverware (in 1988 when Leverkusen won the UEFA Cup) in a career spanning back more than 35 years, Ribbeck is very well regarded.
Having worked with the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt, Kaiserlautern, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg and Bayern Munich, he knows the German game inside out. He also worked as assistant coach to the national side under Jupp Derwall for six years.