< Italy, 2 July 2016


Thursday, 7 July 2016

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

"I thought France were good, but we were better."
Antoine Griezmann 45+2' (pg), 72'

Germany knocked out following 2-0 defeat to France

France go to final after beating Germany
France topple Germany to reach Euro 2016 final

Antoine Griezmann double seals historic win over neighbours

"A huge compliment to the team. We played better than our opponents and controlled the game. I believe that we delivered a strong performance. The team dominated. France were anxious, we dominated. We couldn't get a goal and all the players are extremely disappointed. Luck wasn't on our side tonight. I can't blame anyone. The rule is incredibly difficult to interpret. It is an unfortunate situation. It's bad for the side when a player like Boateng has to go off."

Joachim Löw insists Germany were the 'better team' despite Euro 2016 semi-final defeat to hosts France

"Not too many things went wrong," Low said. "I must compliment my side. We were the better team. We've put in a good performance, a powerful display. Conceding the goal was unfortunate a minute from half-time. Of course we had our chances and, regretfully, we didn't score. But we just didn't have the luck we needed today. But in 2010 or 2012 when we went out, the sides were better than us. Today this wasn't the case. We were better than the French."
"I won't say anything about referees' decisions," Low said. "You have to accept them. I don't have to comment on that. The penalty? I don't know. There is this rule that, if the hand is up and in an awkward position. If you see how Schweinsteiger touched the ball, it was point-blank range in a split second. That's just bad luck, you can't blame him. You can say your hand shouldn't be up, but there are movements when you jump up and you can't control them."
Löw bemoans 'bad luck' over contentious Schweinsteiger penalty call
"Too many things went wrong but I must give a great compliment to the team, we were the better side. We gave a lot and had a body language of power. It was unfortunate that we conceded the goal, that was bad luck, the ball touched the hand a minute before half-time."
"We had our chances, regretfully we didn't score. We didn't have the luck we needed but in 2012 [European Championship semi-final loss to Italy] or 2010 [World Cup semi-final loss to Spain] when we went out, the side that beat us were better than us.
"Today that wasn't the case, we were better than the French."
"There were injured players like Khedira and Gomez, Hummels was suspended and that's not easy to compensate for," he added.
"Jerome Boateng had to leave the pitch and we were weaker after that, that's four important players we didn't have but the team did everything I told them, we were very brave so there's nothing to blame them for."
"The player can't think about that, it's bad luck. You can say the hand shouldn't be there but there are movements when you jump and you can't control them. I can't blame any player for that.
Löw "We were better, but France deserved to go through"
In an interview on dfb.de:
On the penalty: "We dominated the match in the second half. If we had taken the lead early we would have had the game in our hands and France wouldn't have had a chance. The penalty was a shock and I had to calm the players down in the changing room. It was very difficult for us after that as France were strong on the counter. We showed courage and our team did really well all in all."
On the second goal: "You have to get the kick ball out of the danger area quicker in that situation. We were dominant in midfield and we should have cleared up better. We gave our all and tried everything."

Jogi also gave his prediction for Sunday's final: "I also think that France will beat Portugal. Portugal haven't been convincing so far."

Joachim Löw and Mats Hummels criticise expanded nature of Euro 2016

"I think 24 teams are too many," he said on sport1.de. "The World Cup's going to be increased to 40 teams and it's getting more and more, and that's a problem in the long term. Sometimes you get the feeling it's not doing football any good. The quality is suffering."(An opinion which, incidentally, he has held for over two years)
Match analysis:
Germany's young stars fail to build on dominant first half, lose vs. France
Tactical analysis: Germany's wide shape neutralised France - "Those who jumped to say Löw should leave the national team show a lack of understanding of tactics. Worse still, of football as a whole." says this article on Bayern Central.

And, of course, the inevitable question came almost immediately:

Löw won't rash decisions on Germany future

"I can't predict that [my future]," Low said. "I can't even predict things from tomorrow, I won't think about that tonight."It's difficult to answer, we haven't discussed [a change in coach] beforehand. It hasn't been an issue so far, maybe tomorrow when we return, we will talk about that and then we will consider if there's anything to discuss about this tournament.
"This was a good tournament for us, we had a great energy in the side, also in the training sessions, in Evian and in the games they have shown a great team spirit."I haven't seen too many errors in this tournament."
'Disappointed' Löw questions future as Germany manager

Needless to say the stadium had hardly emptied when the usual suspects were off the blocks quicker than the runners in a 100m Olympic Final to criticise the Bundestrainer. It didn't take much to work out who would be in the medal positions:
Fordert Jens Lehmann hier ernsthaft den Rücktritt von Jogi Löw? - with an embedded tweet from yours truly - my first ever!
His attempts earlier in the tournament to completely misquote and mislead the watching British public as to a comment made by Jogi was quite nauseating to watch and ill-befitted a player of his previous stature.
Next up, the ever-predictable Michael Ballack. I can't be bothered to search for his article, as I'm sure you can imagine his whinging ithout the need to read or watch it.
However, support came from Berti Vogts - the obvious difference being that Vogts has experienced life out there on the touchline at a tournament, as opposed to just talking about it from the comfort of a TV studio:
Vogts stärkt Bundestrainer Löw den Rücken

More supportive articles from the following 48 hours:
Joachim Löw ist die beste Mischung
Bundestrainer muss bleiben - Löw ist unantastbar

"Joachim Löw has reached more tournament semi-finals in eight years than the England national football team have in 66 years under 17 different managers." - a fact to put it all in perspective

Following the squad's arrival back in Frankfurt, the DFB released a statement confirming their unwavering support for Jogi, and this is reproduced in full in my Recent News Section on my Homepage.

Löw: "Wir waren das bessere Team" = from kicker de, with excerpts from the press conference
"Sitzen Sie wieter auf dem Bank?" - Jogi speaks of his future at the post-match press conference

Starting Line-Up:
Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng (Shkodran Mustafi(, Benedikt Howedes, Jonas Hector, Toni Kroos, Emre Can (Mario Götze), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Leroy Sane), Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler

There were three enforced changes to the line-up, with Mats Hummels suspended, and Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira ruled out through injury.

A little pre-match light-hearted entertainment - with "Wie viel Joachim Löw steckt in dir?" quiz (How much Joachim Löw is in you?)?

UEFA Press Conference, Marseille, 6 July 2016, with Toni Kroos

Löw: Schweinsteiger will start against France in semifinal

"In a game like this, his experience is very valuable and, in any case, he will start," confirmed Löw on Wednesday. "He will be involved. The injury is as good as cured and he is very, very important for our team."
While he was happy to confirm Schweinsteiger's participation, Löw was less keen to reveal the replacements for Mats Hummels and Mario Gomez, suspended and injured respectively.
"I have the line-up in my head and have answered a few questions I had in the last few days," he said cryptically.
Löw: "Schweinsteiger will definitely start"

"Bastian Schweinsteiger will definitely be starting. He's physically prepared and has the strength to play from the start. In a game like tomorrow's, his kind of experience is of great importance. He was able to take part in all of the exercise during this morning's training session without raising any concerns. He has fully recovered from his injury. There are no more doubts in my mind regarding the starting XI, I've got it in my head."

"It's not easy for us to replace these three players (Hummels, Khedira, Gomez). That's why Bastian with his experience is important. He made a good impression against Italy and got properly stuck into the game. We will try to compromise with the absentees. I trust the players who will start and those who may come on."

"France have a very flexible team - forceful on the attack. They have, I think, the best chance-conversion rate in the tournament so far, and I predict they will attack us with everything they have tomorrow. This means we'll have to be strong as a unit, we need to be compact, keep things tight. It will be difficult for us if France start to open up the spaces. Every team has problems with their game, there's no such thing as the perfect team. France dominated Iceland, and still showed signs of weakness which we want to exploit properly tomorrow. I won't speak publicly about this though - perhaps we can surprise France a little.

We're the toughest team France has had to face in the tournament so far and we will give everything to reach the final. But France are better, in my opinion, than they were in 2014. It will be a very interesting encounter with more chances than in our game against Italy. We're not the favourites, because we're playing against an entire country. There are no favourites, it doesn't matter anyway. Both teams have their strengths.It will be a question of desire. The motivation on both sides will be as high as ever. The desire is there. Our players will give everything they have."

But when asked about comparisons with the 7-1 defeat of Brazil in the 2014 World Cup Semi-Final, he said "We can't take too much from that game. We are used to playing under that sort of pressure. But it won't be a repeat. There's not going to be a semi-final like that every two years. Besides, I think France are much more solid than Brazil were two years ago."

Löw: "Frankreichs Abwehr ist verwundbar"
- Jogi speaks to ARD
"Paris Solidarity won't matter in Semi-Final": Löw

Germany coach Joachim Low has reiterated his gratitude for the solidarity shown to his players on the night of the Paris terror attacks - but insisted it will not be a factor in their Euro 2016 semi-final.
Low said: "The French really helped us where they could on that night. They waited until we left the stadium, they cared about us and that showed the good relations between the players who know each other, who play together at their clubs."
"But this rivalry, in the semi-final, is gigantic. Both sides want to get to the final so this won't play a role on Thursday."
"That said, we do really appreciate the French team after what happened on that night as they did a lot."

Abschied von Evian und Reise nach Marseille - from tv.dfb.de

Final Training and Goodbye to Evian, 6 July 2016

Penultimate training, Evian, 5 July 2016

Das vorletzte Training in Evian - from tv.dfb.de

At this stage of a tournament, there is always the obligatory discussion of Jogi's clothes, looks, accessories and super-fit body, and advice on how to try to copy his style (as if it was that easy!).

Joachim Löw im Style-Check: Das ist sein Look - Jogi's five beauty secrets, and how his grey t-shirt sold out the next day.

Bild discusses his jewellery (right).

A selection of articles, focusing on Jogi as Bundestrainer:

Joachim Löw already among the greats and could be the best - 6 July 2016
Jogi Löw - Völlig losgelöst

World Cup success has made Germany's Löw serene from UEFA.com - 5 July 2016

Lieber Jogi Löw, - with the quote of the day from Bild journalist Frank Josef Wagner:
"A Bundestrainer is no fool, but all fools are Bundestrainers."

Trickschießen mit Can, Löw und Podolski - Jogi shows off his own skills!

Press Conference, Evian, 4 July 2016

With the news that both Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira would be missing on Thursday due to injury, together with Mats Hummels suspension, naturally the main talk of Joachim Löw's press conference was how the team would line up against France.

Hummels suspension present Löw with fresh jigsaw puzzle

"As you already know Mario Gomez's tournament is over, he wouldn't be able to play in the final, should we get there," he said.
"Sami Khedira won't play for us on Thursday. We will do everything for him to be available for a potential final," he adding, before confirming that captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who came on for Khedira after 15 minutes on Saturday, had suffered a knock to his troublesome right knee in the course of the more than 100 minutes that followed.
"The match against Italy he left a physical mark on the squad. He added that Mario will remain here with the German squad to be treated. "He told me yesterday that he wants to stay. He is a part of this team and was playing really well for us up until his injury. We will miss his presence. He just needs one chance to score; he's a striker who is always dangerous when he receives that final pass in the box. We will also miss his quality in the air."

Löw rallies players with motto of 'Bring on the French'

"It's great that there's a game like this. I love playing knock-out games against teams of this calibre," said Löw in Evian on Monday.
"I'm not worried about who the favourite is," said Germany's head coach."It would be easy to say that we have a few injuries and France are favourites as they played really well."
"But that does not matter at all over 90 or 120 minutes."It is like it was against Italy: a game of two teams with outstanding individuals. Both have a clear direction, even if France naturally plays offensively. I love games like this."
Joachim Löw: World Cup win over France will have no bearing on Euro semi-final
"France played a very good match (against Iceland)," he said at a press conference.
"They have had difficulties in some matches but they are very strong mentally. They are playing at home and have a lot of confidence. In Marseille, the supporters are superb."
"They have a dynamic, a power and very good players - (Olivier) Giroud, (Dimitri) Payet, (Antoine) Griezmann, on the bench (Anthony) Martial and (Kingsley) Coman - they are a very strong team. I have always said they are among the favourites."
"The quarter-final in Brazil two years ago was very hard. The match was close, we scored quite early and defended our lead. "That win will not play a part on Thursday. France have developed since 2014 with (coach) Didier Deschamps."
"Griezmann is a world class player and maybe one of the most important in the France squad. However, with Pogba, Giroud and the others there are a lot of other players that we can't afford to let out of our sight."

He added "France have played amazingly. They have won a number of matches in the closing stages during the tournament so far, which shows that they have a very, very strong character. France are a team full of confidence, that has momentum, strength and power in attack. They are extremely strong. We have respect for them, however, we know what we have to do regardless of the personnel situation. I am looking forward to the match."

On other squad members:

Bastian Schweinsteiger, he said it would be a mistake to play him if not fully fit - "He made a brilliant return against Italy and kept up with the pace of the game until the very end. He impressed me, but I can't play people if they have a knock and are not 100 percent. I obviously hope that he will be fit because he offers a lot to the team. I hope our captain plays."

"If a player is less than 100 percent fit, then I won't play him," said Löw."I made that mistake once before in my career and I won't do it again."
Löw refused to be drawn about the mistake he referred to -- passing it off from earlier in his career as a club coach. - from thelocal.de

Toni Kroos' possible midfield partner: "Emre Can can play in a number of different positions. He is someone who would be good for the team. Julian Weigl is also a very good player though but has a different playing style. We will wait two or three days then see what our decision will be. I am not considering Joshua Kimmich playing in the centre as we have other options." He added "Toni is an essential part of the system we play. There are not many players who are as calm as Toni and so aware of their strengths. He is a player who can take a match in the right direction with his technical ability."

Benedikt Höwedes performance against Italy: "He did brilliantly. He hardly lost out in a challenge and did well standing his ground. He's a player, who can be used in lots of different systems, and that versatility means he's unbelievably useful for managers."

Julian Draxler's performance - "He is a player with incredible technical ability and pace. What he's still lacking though is consistency. But I'm very, very pleased with him. He is someone who is good in and can finish off one-on-one situations. I expect to see more good things from him in the rest of the tournament. He will be extremely important for the national team in the coming years."

A possible back-three against Italy - "I don't know about that yet but I'll be considering it. It was necessary against Italy, even if it harmed us going forwards. Questions were asked of our intelligence and patience against Italy. France will be even harder to calculate."

Thomas Müller's goal drought - "It isn't worrying me. Thomas is someone who doesn't let things like this affect him. I have the feeling that if we really needed a goal he would score. Playing Müller as a striker is a possibility but we might also play with two up front."

Possible Changes to the Starting XI: The situation is clear. We will make changes and find solutions. I will bring new names into the side and I have total faith in every one of the players. They are all at a very high level and in good physical condition. It doesn't worry me.

Löw reagiert sauer auf Scholl-Kritik
Jogi said he accepted discussion and criticism of his tactics - this is normal and part of football, but does not accept attacks from the outside on his colleagues. "Outsiders do not know what goes on internally."
(Contrary to what is being inferred in some media, only Mehmet Scholl has been criticial of Jogi's tactics against Italy, and he would thus appeared to have achieved his aim - a great deal of self-publicity.)

He spoke of saying their goodbyes to their base in Evian "We've felt completely welcome. Being near to the training pitches was extremely worthwhile. The location was the best solution. We've felt very comfortable and it's always a bit tricky to say goodbye. We feel like the tournament has only just begun because we're still full of energy."

Germany more vulnerable than ever before as Mario Gomez injury leaves Joachim Löw with big decisions - 3 July 2016

The dfb.de website announced today that Mario Gomez will play no further part in the tournament:
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez all had MRI scans atn a hospital in Annecy earlier today. Gomez has pulled his right hamstring and has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament. Schweinsteiger took a knock to the knee during the Italy clash and has been diagnosed with a lateral collateral ligament strain, whereas Khedira has picked up an adductor problem.
Schweinsteiger and Khedira may still feature in the tournament. The medical team are going to work hard alongside them in order to prepare them for Thursday's semi-final, however, it's hard to properly assess how long their injuries will need to heal. They will be assessed on a daily basis. In addition to Gomez, Mats Hummels will miss the next game. The defender is suspended for the match.
Joachim Löw had the following to say after the news broke: "It's bitterly disappointing that important players are becoming unavailable at the business end of the tournament. Our thoughts are with Mario. He's done well in the tournament and has helped us in a number of ways. We now need to rethink our tactics a bit and try to cope without him. There's enough quality in the squad to do that and I have faith in all of the players. We'll be ready for Thursday." - 3 July 2016

< Italy, 2 July 2016

Last updated 9 July 2016
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