Football: Joachim Low eyes World Cup redemption for Germany

Joachim Low oversees a training session ahead of Germany's first Uefa Nations League game with world champions France, as skipper Manuel Neuer warms up in the background. The 2014 World Cup-winning coach acknowledges they have to show a different att
Joachim Low oversees a training session ahead of Germany's first Uefa Nations League game with world champions France, as skipper Manuel Neuer warms up in the background. The 2014 World Cup-winning coach acknowledges they have to show a different attitude when playing the French.PHOTO: REUTERS

Coach wants Germany to defend as a team against France in Nations League opener

MUNICH • Germany must defend with all their players when they host world champions France today if they are to get some measure of redemption for their World Cup flop and make a fresh start, coach Joachim Low has said.

Germany, the 2014 world champions, crashed out of the World Cup in Russia at the group stage, their earliest exit in 80 years in the tournament.

Their inaugural Uefa Nations League encounter in Munich against France is the first game for both teams since the World Cup.

"We want to show a different face, play a good game against the world champions," Low told reporters ahead of the clash.

"Of course it is a chance for us for some redemption. You can feel that the team knows it needs to rectify things. We must have the confidence to defend and all players must participate in defending.

"No matter what the system is, it is important for all players to work in defence, not only those at the back."

Low in recent weeks blamed his attacking strategy that left the team exposed at the back as a major reason for their early World Cup exit. The Germans must now settle into the role of underdogs against France, he added.

"We are not the favourites when the new world champions play their first game since winning the title," Low said. "We were favourites for years and now we have to start from a different position.

"Logically we will try to contain them and we want to show a different attitude."

The Nations League that kicks off today aims to boost interest in the autumn and spring internationals, which were seen by clubs as disruptive to the domestic football season.

To be held every two years, it features all 55 of Europe's national teams divided into four divisions - Leagues A to D - that are themselves split into four groups, to be played between September and November.

NEW CHAMPIONS IN TOWN

We are not the favourites when the new world champions play their first game since winning the title. We were favourites for years and now we have to start from a different position.

JOACHIM LOW, Germany coach, on accepting their new role.

There is promotion and relegation between each league while the top division, which includes France and Germany, will finish with a four-team mini-tournament, to be held in June next year, to decide the Nations League champions.

Despite Germany's poor showing at the World Cup, Low still has the support of his captain Manuel Neuer.

"Of course he was down after the World Cup, as we all were," said the Bayern Munich goalkeeper.

"But he's also ambitious and he has a plan. From the very first discussions, it was clear that he is just as hungry as the players.

"We want to play football again. We know we all must atone for a lot."

France coach Didier Deschamps has retained the entirety of the squad that triumphed in Russia, with the exception of captain Hugo Lloris and fellow goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, both injured.

As just the third man to win the World Cup as both a player and coach, Deschamps is more aware than most of the increased exposure that comes with such success but believes it can serve his team well.

"It's a galvanising effect to have this title, in terms of confidence," he said.

"This title of world champion, you have to manage it but it's not a weight or a burden to carry. It's quite the opposite.

"With all the positive aspects being world champion has brought, on the sporting front but also from a human and psychological standpoint, it's a huge boost."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2018, with the headline 'Low eyes World Cup redemption'. Print Edition | Subscribe