Erasmia: Ahead of the World Cup quarterfinal clash against Argentina in Port Elizabeth, German coach Joachim Loew kicked off the mind games Wednesday by saying that Lionel Messi is no big threat to his team.
Loew knows that Friday`s encounter will be a tough one, similar to what happened in 2006 in Germany when the hosts went on to win the match on penalties.
In the base camp here in Erasmia, which is on the outskirts of the South African capital Pretoria, Loew said that the team would `try collectively` to stop Messi.
`Other teams have done so, he hasn`t scored any goals so far, but there are other players who we have to watch out for,` Loew said.
Loew said a day`s break has helped the squad and all the players are training except striker Cacau, who is doubtful for the match with a stomach muscle strain.
Asked if his team had prepared any strategy for Argentina, Loew said: `We won`t need a note, we`ll need a whole catalogue. Argentina have lot of strengths and it is not easy to recognise weaknesses. They are one of the big favourites, if not the favourite for the title. They have not only Messi but other players who can win games. But we in the coaching team think we have recognised some weaknesses, and of course Argentina are vulnerable.`
In 2006, during the penalty shootout, German keeper Jens Lehmann pulled out a note from his socks that had details of Argentina`s penalty takers and it helped Lehmann to save the strikes.
Loew was full of praise for Argentine coach Diego Maradona.
`He was a genius as a player, a phenomenon and the idol of millions of fans around the world. It is difficult to judge him as a coach, but I have only heard good things about him. The way the team has played has been impressive, and he has also managed to motivate them with a lot of pride,` Loew said.