World Cup 2018 Qualifying Campaign Index


Monday, 4 September 2017

World Cup 2018 Group C Qualifier

"We've seen here in Stuttgart
just how beautiful the beautiful game can be and how enjoyable it can be"

Mesut Ozil 10', Julian Draxler 17', Timo Werner 21', 40', Leon Goretzka 50', Mario Gomez 79'

A breathtaking team performance by Germany as they are all but mathematically assured of a top place in Group C, and Jogi is delighted, not just with his players, but with the atmosphere in the stadium.

"There was a great atmosphere right from the beginning and an absolutely awesome crowd who supported each and every player in our team. We did our bit as well."

Germany on brink after thrashing of Norway

Germany Cruise to 6-0 Win over Norway in World Cup Qualifier
World Cup holders move one step closer to Russia 2018

Joachim Löw: Germany made 'good progress' in 6-0 thrashing of Norway

"It was the first home game for us in a while, and you could tell the crowd was pumped to see the team again. We combined well and the goals we scored made the mood in the stadium even better. We said after the Czech game that we wanted to have a different spirit in the team. We came on leaps and bounds tonight and when you play like that you are going to create a lot of chances. We wanted more shots on goal tonight, that was our goal and it was a pleasure to watch the boys out there."

Löw: "A wonderful evening" - more post-match comment from Jogi.

"We played together brilliantly in the first half and created lots and lots of chances. There was a different feeling in the team; we pressured them a lot and were very dynamic in front of goal, which is something we were missing in the Czech Republic. The goals inevitably came, the team tried to keep up the tempo in the second half and to not allow chances against us. That made it a wonderful evening."

Jogi was delighted that Timo Werner had to experience none of the hostility shown in the match in Prague "I thought that was good and it was appropriate. Timo played more than 100 Bundesliga games for VfB Stuttgart as a young player and scored quite a few goals; he gave everything for three years here. I found what happened embarrassing and very harsh; he plays for Germany and he's already scored a lot of goals in only a few games. It was great from the beginning today, all the spectators were supporting him. It was a real pleasure to be here."

On Timo the player "He causes big problems for his opponents and is extremely difficult to defend against because he charges towards goal and has incredible pace. When you watch him in a match or training, the way he plays is amazing considering the short amount of time he's been in the team. He makes lateral runs, penetrating runs and so on, which is great for our link-up play because we can play the ball in behind their defence. I hope he can keep it up - it's hard for our opponents to stop it."

When asked if the 4-4-2 formation suit the team better than having three at the back, he replied "For God's sake, no! We won the Confed Cup in this formation with a young team. It's vital to have two different playing systems and a have plan B. All our players cut angles in the final third today, played their positions superbly, got into space and the wingers pushed up really high. We managed to get in behind them and cut lots of gaps in their defence with our dynamic play. But we still played it from the back, just as we did in the Czech Republic."

Analysis and player ratings from
As it happened from

Arsenal's Mesut Özil stars again for Germany in 6-0 World Cup qualifying rout over Norway
After the Arsenal man had come under fire from UK pundits lately, much was made in the British press and among Arsenal fans of his 'return to form' when putting on a Germany shirt.
What a shame that former England players have, for reasons best known to them, such an axe to grind against a player I, for one, feel privileged to have play in my country's league. No doubt they will continue to put all their energy into attention-seeking diatribes, reliant on outdated images of footballing stereotypes, while Germany continue winning the trophies.

Thoughts and comment on the September break:
Mesut Özil is a talent who transforms even good teams
RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner the answer to Germany's goal-scoring prayers
Germany's World Cup squad a tough decision for Joachim Löw
Unstoppable Germany look ruthless on way to retaining World Cup

Germany need one point from their remaining two games to win Group C.

Post-match press conference and Post-match Interview with RTL

Darum nahm Jogi den Ball mit - Jogi taking a match ball home with him (bottom far right)for his kickabouts at home!

Starting Line-Up:
Marc-André ter Stegen, Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Antonio Rüdiger, Jonas Hector, Toni Kroos, Sebastian Rudy (Sami Khedira), Thomas Müller (Leon Goretzka), Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler, Timo Werner (Mario Gomez)

Training, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, 3 September 2017

Press Conference, Stuttgart, 3 September 2017, with Sami Khedira

"I'm full of anger - they bring shame on our country": Löw condemns Nazi chants

"I can't turn directly to sporting questions without commenting on what happened in Prague," Löw said at the start of a press conference ahead of Monday's qualifier against Norway in Stuttgart, victory in which could secure Germany's place in Russia next year.
"I'm full of anger and I'm very much shaken to see that some so-called fans use football, and an international match, for their deplorable demonstrations.""They bring shame on our country," Löw said of the supporters who took part in the chants, praising his players' decision to not applaud the block where away fans were gathered at the end of the match, as is customary."I am favourable to very severe sanctions against these troublemakers. We don't want them, we're not their national team, and they're not our fans.
"Given our history, it's very important for us to represent our country in a dignified fashion and its values of tolerance, respect and openness to the world. These troublemakers demean this image."
Germany boss Joachim Löw rages at 'despicable' Nazi chants
"I am really very angry about what happened, that some so-called fans used the stage of an international football match to bring shame on our country with their extremely embarrassing appearance and behaviour. I think every one of those people who is prevented from getting into the stadium is a win."
Low added: "I am absolutely on the side of those demanding tough sanctions, because a stadium should be somewhere you enjoy going, where everybody can go and where despite all the rivalry and all the chanting, everything proceeds at a certain level.
"We don't want these anarchists, we are not their national team and the behaviour of some of the fans in Prague was the lowest of the low and deeply despicable."
Hhe was not sad or distraught, he said, but that anger best describes the way he felt. "A stadium should be a place where you can go, where everyone can go, despite all rivalries".

Löw disgusted by fan behaviour ahead of Czech Republic clash

A section of the Germany support who disrupted a minute's silence on Friday are not supporters of the national team, says Joachim Löw.
"I'm extremely disappointed about what happened during the minute's silence," he told a media conference.
"Those are not our fans. I'm disgusted that these so-called fans embarrassed our country on an international stage. "As a team we want to stand for good values and a tolerant, open-minded Germany."
He also slammed the treatment of Timo Werner by fans saying "I find similarly embarrassing the abuse against Timo Werner. Timo made a mistake and admitted it. He is a player who plays with highest commitment and considerable delight for Germany. That's why it's not appropriate."

"Diese Chaoten haben Schande über unser Land gebracht"
"Ich bin voller Wut"
"Wir sind nicht deren Nationalmannschaft"

Looking ahead to the Norway game:

Joachim Löw to ring the changes as Germany seek early qualification

"I'm planning to make a few changes to the starting eleven. Julian Draxler has trained well and will play," said Löw, who expects to have Sami Khedira back captaining the side.
"We have to be on the front foot against Norway," he said. "When we play with three in midfield, we're completely reliant on the midfield to get the ball moving towards goal. I'm not sure if we necessarily need two holding midfielders. Two holding midfielders mean you don't get forward as much against what will be a defensive Norway side."

On Mario Gomez: "My impression is a good one, I get the feeling he's fully prepared and that he's on top of his fitness. Mario Gomez has the qualities we value highly. He has instinct in the box. I'm glad that he belongs to our country."

"Allowing for healthy competition is the only way that our team will be able to improve."

Marc-André ter Stegen will start in goal.

On Norway: "Norway and the Czech Republic have surely lagged behind their potential in the group. They've always had a real chance to qualify. I think their fortunes will change for the better under their new head coach, Lars Lagerbäck. He's incredibly experienced and he's a coach who can change the shape of a team. Norway have a lot of players with international experience. They won't play any further role in the qualification group but the future certainly looks better for them."

On Norway's style of play, he said "I know how they can play and which formations they'll have to choose from. We don't want to have to adapt ourselves to Norway; the key questions are: what do we want to do, what challenges will we have to overcome, what do we have to do better than we did against the Czech Republic? If we set out to do that, then we'll get chances and we can dominate."

And on changes since the World Cup: "For a start, players have retired since 2014 and, secondly, I've said that we have to continue improving ourselves. We had to bring in fresh players to fuel the competition and to integrate young players - that's our main goal. It's a four-year process, not only to see how the team looks in terms of ability or tactically, but also personnel-wise. We have to be well-placed for next year; the Confed Cup was really important for allowing the younger players to get some experience. It's not easy to get the young and experienced players working together well, but the team can only improve if we have healthy internal competition."

Simmary of press conference from

Rückflug, Regeneration und Training - 2 September 2017

Asked after the win against the Czech Republic whether he was going to play more than one holding midfielder this time, Joachim Löw replied "We have to be on the front foot against Norway. When we play with three in midfield, we're completely reliant on the midfield to get the ball moving towards goal. I'm not sure if we necessarily need two holding midfielders. Two holding midfielders mean you don't get forward as much against what will be a defensive Norway side."

"In Stuttgart, there'll certainly be a few changes or two [in line-up]. I planned that before we played tonight's match as I think it's a difficult task for players who aren't totally in sync with each other to play two 90 minute games in three days. Our great performance so far allows other players to get their chance." from

Löw names Germany squad for World Cup qualifiers against Czechs, Norway - 25 August 2017

The coach urged fans to provide "a good atmosphere in Stuttgart" and praised Norway counterpart Lars Lagerback for his work with outsiders Iceland at last summer's European Championship.
"We're looking forward to a good atmosphere in Stuttgart", said Löw. "We've had good times at Stuttgart in the past with the Germany national team and we want to continue that. However, we have to prepare for the game fully and provide a spark on the pitch. I have a lot of respect for Norwegian head coach, Lars Lagerbäck, who did very well with Iceland in the European Championships. He will have a good, young Norway side very well prepared and they'll be no walkover." - from

The full squad for the September international break can be found on my Czech Republic page.

Last updated 2 October 2017
With thanks to everyone, especially Lucille, Sarah, Susanne and Silke.
Anything else you think I should include on this page? Let me know!