Defiant Low looks to the future
Germany coach Joachim Low wants to move on from his side's UEFA EURO 2012 heartache with a strong performance in Wednesday's international friendly against Argentina.
Germany's defeat to Italy in the semi-finals in Poland and Ukraine triggered widespread criticism of the team's performance, but Low says that one game will not define his tenure. Instead, he hit back at the critics and said he will not be changing his or his team's ways.
"We have a long-term concept and we will absolutely be sticking to it," he said. "Before the Italy game, we won 15 games in a row, which was a world best, and we beat teams in the group stage who are in the top 10, and I think the fans like the way we play football too.
"Despite that defeat, there is no reason to deviate from our path. Of course I accept the sporting criticism and I will try to draw solutions from it, but I think we all in German football can be proud of what this team has done over recent years and parts of this criticism I feel is simply not getting us anywhere."
Bastian Schweinsteiger was in the firing line for his performances at EURO 2012, but Low leapt to his defence. The Bayern Munich midfielder will not play on Wednesday due to injury, but Low rejected the claim that Schweinsteiger's lack of leadership contributed to Germany's failure to reach the final.
"I want to make it quite clear - this leadership question, I don't think it is fair to discuss it and I don't want to hear it again in the future," he said at a press conference. "Many teams with classic leaders went home before us and I don't think there would have been millions of people watching us on TV and millions on the streets watching us on big screens if we did not have lead figures. We have players who want to win games and we have proven that often enough."
Wednesday will provide the next chance to prove that and Low is particularly looking forward to seeing his younger players stake a claim for a place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifiers.
"I think that some young players like Julian Draxler and others can get the experience for the upcoming challenges in future years to be able to measure up to Argentina, Messi and Co," he said. "This game is important for the further development of these players."
Ron-Robert Zieler should start in goal after Manuel Neuer withdrew from the squad due to injury. Borussia Monchengladbach custodian Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been called up as cover.