Friday, 18 April 2014

World Soccer, May 2014

Part of Feature containing Interviews with all 32 World Cup coaches

What did you make of Germany's most recent game, the friendly against Chile in March?

The Chileans were exactly the sort of opponent we needed in the run-up to the World Cup, extremely strong, hard-running and technically proficient. A team which really tested us. If you take the game as a whole, it was a relatively lucky win for us. Chile had lots of chances.

Was there a reason why they had so many goalscoring opportunities?

We gave the ball away a lot and because of that the game became too stretched, with too much space for Chile to operate in. In recent matches against England and Italy we excelled with our unbelievably accurate passing, but this time we were lacking in this department. We were never able to get a foothold in the game. Both teams set out early on to put the other under pressure. Even though we won the game 1-0, we only rarely made use of the space which opened up.

What did the team take from the game with regard to this summer?

We had to expend an incredible amount of effort. It does you good sometimes to realise that exceptional footballers aren't only found in Germany.

You have appealed to your players not to treat the World Cup finals with complacency. Did the Chile game confirm your warnings?

In both my press conferences and in the dressing room witht he players, I've brought up these issues. My opinion is that some players must raise their individual performance levels. Some have been injured and still have to find their match rhythm. We realise we must be in a position to improve. The players concerned have been informed.

Mesut Özil started on the right side of midfield in the game against Chile and then moved to a more central striking role. Are you looking for a position for him? How does he seem to you at the moment?

I've had conversations with Mesut, we are always having exchanges of views. In leaving Spanish football for the Premier League he has had to get used to a more different style of play. I don't have to create any role for him. I know which positions he can play in. In this game I wanted to see Özil, [Miroslav] Klose and [Mario} Götze switching positions. In the first half a couple of chances came out of it, but nothing in the second. I know what Mesut Özil can do, I have 100 per cent faith that he will find his best form between now and the World Cup.

What are your thoughts regarding Bastian Schweinsteiger?

He's important for us because of his class as a player, his experience and his immense influence on other players. If he's fit for 90 minutes, his strength in possession and tactical refinement makes him amazingly valuable. He has been out injured for a long time and has only been back for a couple of matches. Over the next two or three months he needs to play more games and that will do him good. Then, I'm sure, we'll see a good Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Did the Chile game prove to you that the big football nations are not the only ones who can cause Germany problems at the World Cup?

Some experts see Chile as dark horses for the World Cup and they confirmed this standing against us. I watch a lot of international games and you can never say that the best footballers in the world are only located in Germany. We've some very good players - as long as they are in good physical shape. Sometimes one has the impression that Germany is flooded with talent, but other nations are not sleeping either.

How do you rate your side's chances this summer?

On paper, we have a top team, but reality sees it differently. We have some players who have been injured for months. We have some players who are not playing regularly for their clubs. We have some players who are struggling for form and others who are fighting little injury concerns.

Have you decided on your squad yet?

The clock is ticking and only those who hear it will have a real chance to be in the squad. This is an appeal to everyboyd, and to some a wake-up call. To go to the World Cup in top condition, everyone has to make sure that over the next few months their training, lifestyle and professionalism are just right.

Interview by Frankfurter Allgemeine.ESM

Uploaded for review and non-profit purposes only.

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