Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bundestrainer Löw: "There are plenty of other strong nations", 06.03.2014

Although Germany kicked off their World Cup year with a 1-0 friendly win over Chile yesterday, Joachim Löw saw plenty of room for improvement during the 90 minutes. In an interview, the national team coach discussed the first friendly in the run-up to the World Cup and discussed the form of Mesut Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Question: Joachim Löw, what is your verdict on the team’s 1-0 win over Chile?

Löw: Chile were exactly the opponent we needed before this World Cup. They were extremely strong and lively, and were technically and tactically very good throughout. They pushed us to the limit. It was a lucky win for us as the Chileans had some very good opportunities to score.

Question: What are the current problem areas?

Löw: We had better control of the match in the first half, but in the second half we gave the ball away several times when pushing forward. We didn’t start the match too well and had to work unbelievably hard.

Question: After your wake-up call on Monday, are you now glad the public has had a chance to see that the World Cup will not be an easy prospect?

Löw: I’d simply like to say that some players still need to improve their performances as they’ve been injured and haven’t played very much. It’s also clear that temperatures will be very different in Brazil and we’ll be playing at different times. There are no excuses. We shouldn’t assume that the Chileans or other South American countries will play cautiously in these conditions. It’s clear that we need to improve in some areas, and the players concerned have been made aware of that. It will be important for us after this match to acknowledge the current situation and really appreciate that we need to push ourselves that little bit harder.

Question: What’s your view on Mesut Özil’s situation?

Löw: Football is played at a much higher intensity in England, and you have to acclimatise to that. I don’t have to find a role for Mesut; I know which positions he can play and what he can do. I have complete faith in him. He’ll find his form.

Question: And Bastian Schweinsteiger?

Löw: He has a big impact on our play thanks to his class and experience. Whenever he is able to spend 90 minutes on the march with his ball control and tactical finesse, it’s extremely useful for us. Bastian is a fearsome prospect when he’s fully fit, but he has been injured for a long time now. It will do him good to play some more games, and then I’m sure we’ll see a strong Schweinsteiger once more.

Question: Why did the team let so many chances slip by?

Löw: It’s easy to explain: we had a lot of space because we were playing across the pitch with five or six players but couldn’t complete our passes. The extremely solid passing game that served us so well against Italy and England failed us this time. We lost the ball too often.

Question: Were you surprised by the tempo at which the Chileans played?

Löw: It didn’t surprise me. They recently put the world champions, Spain, under pressure for almost 90 minutes. Spain also had trouble getting forward because the Chileans pressed them so consistently. It was important for some players to experience and see that if they want to achieve anything this summer.

Question: Before the match, you spoke about theory and reality. Is it realistic to expect that there will be other teams besides the Europeans, Brazil and Argentina who could make life difficult for the favourites this summer?

Löw: Chile are being treated as the dark horses by some experts, and with good reason – they certainly proved their worth today. I watch a lot of international matches, and there’s no way you can say that the best players in the world only play in Germany. We’ve certainly got some very good footballers when they’re all fit, but you get the feeling that Germany is somewhat spoiled for choice in that respect. There are plenty of other strong nations, particularly in South America, where Brazil, Argentina, Chile or even Colombia play fantastic, high-quality football. It’s probably a good thing that Chile showed this evening that there are exceptional footballers in other countries too.

6 March 2014
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