Germany will improve in the knockout stages: Low
Warsaw: Germany coach Joachim Low is expecting his players to improve when they face Greece in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.
The 52-year-old admitted that his side struggled against Denmark despite running out 2-1 winners, and confirmed political issues will not play a part in their upcoming clash against Fernando Santos` men.
“I`m calm; we`ve reached nine points, that`s perfect, our first goal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and I have a good relationship – we`ve come to an agreement: She doesn`t interfere with football issues and I don`t talk about politics," Low told reporters.
“In the beginning we played well against Denmark, but after we conceded we slackened a bit and had problems. We ran less, our pressing decreased, so did our passing. The gaps between midfield and defence grew bigger. But we know what we have to do and how to improve on that.”
He also confirmed preparations have already begun for the match and believes their opponents will miss the suspended Giorgos Karagounis.
“It actually started this morning," he said. "The players trained quite hard. There`s not much leisure time, normal rhythm in training, one training session a day. The pressure will rise naturally, the first day after the match there is a decrease, that`s normal.
“He (Karagounis) is one of the creative heads in the team, Greece will miss him.”
Low also explained his reasoning behind choosing Mario Gomez ahead of Miroslav Klose, adding: “We did that because he played a perfect season. Klose was injured in the end, so I chose Gomez because he had the rhythm and scored a lot. But we need Klose as well, he is very important.”
Germany are one of the favourites to win the tournament and Low is pleased with the way his side have adapted their game against defensive-minded teams, while giving his thoughts on potential opposition.
“We had to reach a balance between playing beautifully and reaching a result, which we managed to do,” he said.
“Italy is one of the favourites, that`s clear. They`ve developed well since 2010. They’re more offence-minded and the team is younger now. But for me that`s not important now, I focus on Greece, then we`ll see.”
“I don`t think Spain is weak in a physical sense. Spain is world class. I`ve seen them twice now. Croatia tried to destroy the game but Spain always has chances, they can always score. When I see Andres Iniesta, I can only say: That`s the essence of good football, there`s nothing better.”
The tactician revealed Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lars Bender picked up slight knocks in their game against Denmark but both will be fit to take part in their next training session.
“Schweinsteiger was a bit off-colour, Lars Bender as well, but nothing serious. Everybody will be in training tomorrow. Sami Khedira and Schweinsteiger had to do lots of work."
Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil has impressed with his performances so far in the tournament and Low is expecting the playmaker to up his game even more.
“He really works a lot and is very intense without the ball as well. What was missing sometimes were options to pass. And he needs the others to run correctly to do it.
"But he can and will explode. In 2010 he played at his best after the group stage. And I feel that will happen now as well,” Low added.