World Cup 2018 Qualifying Campaign Index


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

HDI Arena, Hannover
World Cup 2018 Group C Qualifier

"We fulfilled our task: six points from the two games and zero goals conceded."

Julian Draxler 13', Sami Khedira 17'

Germany continue their 100% win rate in qualifying, and still have yet to concede a goal. Less certain was whether Jogi had or hadn't broken a long-standing record!

World champions coast to record-equalling victory for Joachim Low
Germany breeze past Northern Ireland to keep perfect record

Draxler & Khedira on target as hosts ease to win
World champions Germany flex their muscles to brush aside Northern Ireland
Germany dispatch Northern Ireland to maintain perfect start

"The goals came quickly, it was an easy win for us. Northern Ireland stood very deep, it became difficult to play against as the game went on. The Northern Irish gave very little away at the back, they stood firm even after going behind. At times we were a bit careless and gave away 1-on-1 situations. We didn't close them off quickly enough."

Joachim Löw: Germany's victory over Northern Ireland was 'fairly effortless'

"Northern Ireland defended pretty deep, it almost seemed like a 9-0-1 formation at times. It was a very deserved victory and we just have to keep on winning."
"I have just told my team before these games they have to reach a stability and they have to play relentlessly throughout these qualifiers and take no prisoners and ensure qualification as quickly as possible."
Löw: "We want to qualify as swiftly as possible" - a post-match interview on

Asked about his team's performance over the past two games, Jogi replied "We have been able to bring an incredible level of dominance into our game, and put an awful lot of pressure on the opposition. Our opponents have to work extremely hard to close the gaps we create. But our style is flexible enough, and the players are able to change positions a lot. The team is looking very solid, although we haven't played against one of the very top teams."

However he denied that Germany now had a set 'best team', adding "With the games in November and the Confederations Cup, I'll have the opportunity to bring in some new faces. I'll meet with the rest of the coaching staff next week and we'll start making plans and thinking about November and the Confederations Cup. It's very possible that I'll give one or two players a rest during that period. Obviously there's the U21 European Championship as well, and we'll be talking about a few players with an eye on that. We have to keep a good balance and think about whether we keep the team together or give younger players some experience."

As far as the one or two things they still needed to work on, Joachim Löw said the team had to maintain these stable performances which they did not always manage to do in the Euro qualifying. He said it is important that the team stays stable and works through the qualifying as swiftly and effectively as possible. "We want to improve a few of the smaller details, and working on our efficiency remains important."

As for individual players, he was pleased with Sami Khedira's performance "It was important for Sami that he could arrive in the penalty area from deep. That kind of run is very difficult to defend against, and Sami does it well - he is very dynamic." and clarified that Ilkay Gündogan play from the start as it was obvious in training he was not at 100%, needing more game time to find his very best form.

Löw gibt Entwarnung bei Star-Duo - confirming that Jerome Boateng and Mesut Özil were substituted as a precautionary measure only.

Germany coach Joachim Löw plans to keep a close eye on Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi

"I'd like to see some games abroad in the next weeks," Low told reporters. "I'll go to England and watch Arsenal, where two of our players are playing now.
"I'll just have a look at what's going on abroad and keep an eye on the Bundesliga."
Two articles

Post-match interview on RTL

Post-match press conference and a further clip from

Löw stellt Rekord von Herberger ein
An incredible landmark for Jogi, as it was announced immediately after the game that he had equalled Sepp Herberger's 94 wins as Bundestrainer.
(This match was, in fact, Jogi's 95th match victory with Germany - unfortunately however in statistics terms penalty shoot-out wins are counted as draws.)
Fußball-Historiker behauptet: Jogi Löw hat Rekord von Sepp Herberger schon geknackt - 12 October 2016
However, the following day, it was revealed in some media that there may have been an error in the calculation of wins by Sepp Herberger who had in fact only 92 victories to his name.

Either way, I think it's fairly certain Jogi will be the record holder for certain at his next match - against San Marino.

Starting Line-Up:
Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng (Shkodran Mustafi), Mats Hummels, Jonas Hector (Kevin Volland), Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Mesut Ozil (Ilkay Gündogan), Julian Draxler (Julian Brandt), Mario Götze

Jogi did not change his starting line-up from that of three days ago.

How does Joachim Low (sic) keep Germany flying high - good praise but bad puns from the Belfast press - 11 October 2016

Training, HDI Arena, Hannover, 10 October 2016

Der Tag vor dem Nordirland-Spiel

Press Conference, Hannover, 10 October 2016, with Mats Hummels

Joachim Löw started by saying generally speaking he was very pleased part one of October matches had gone very well, but he has also told his team he will only be really satisfied if they also win part two and glinch those six much-needed points. "I think the team did very well in the game against the Czech Republic and we will try and continue to play with the same commitment and joy, as was evident in that match. Northern Ireland will not play as openly as the Czech Republic did, will not press as high, so we will be facing a more defensively minded team." This is what he has told the players.

Jogi was asked about the team's return to Hannover after the cancellation of the match against the Netherlands one year ago due to a terror alert. He replied that they had dealt with the issue well and have come to terms with the cancellation of the game a year ago. It is not an issue for this game. He pointed out that they have returned to Paris, the scene of the terror attacks a year ago, and any threat haa not influenced preparations for this game. They have put all their trust and confidence in the security forces who do all they can to prevent a repeated occurence.

Boateng and Hummels opting for long balls recently - Jogi explained this was not really a change of mind. It has always been their style to have a careful build-up and using their technically able midfield, and it is going to stay that way. However at the time our wingbacks weren't positioned as far forward as they are now, so now it seems to make much more sense to play long diagonal balls espcially when, as against the Czechs, they left open spaces for them to explore. It is always an option but he doesn't they will be given it very often by Northern Ireland. They are likely to sit very deep and crowd their own box. Have a strong aerial presence.

The team has no injury worries. Jerome Boateng and Jonas Hector, who both received knocks against the Czech Republic, are fit to play. There shouldn't be a problem for the starting line-up for tomorrow. They will both have a light training session tonight, but they should all be fit to play, including Julian Draxler. It is conceivable that there may be the odd change, but will firstly discuss with team, and then give guidelines.

Joachim Löw 'fairly certain' of qualification for 2018 World Cup as Germany boss targets 94th win in charge against Northern Ireland

"In a nutshell, no, we're not looking for accommodation already for the 2018 World Cup but with six points and Azerbaijan and San Marino to come, we're self-confident enough to be fairly certain that yes, we'll be there in two years' time," Löw stated.
"I would like to finish this qualifying competition with full concentration. We want to win games, be consistent and develop further ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which we didn't do before the 2014 World Cup."
"The Confederations Cup will be around next year, I will fly over to Russia [with Oliver Bierhoff] and maybe do some initial checks but that's about it in terms of the World Cup."
Approaching Sepp Herberger's record of most wins as Bundestrainer - He said the funny thing is people keep reminding him of these statistics, whereas he personally doesn't pay much attention to them. There is no doubt in his mind that both Herberger and Schon were great coaches, legends in their own time, and took football to where it is now, but to him such statistics aren't all that important.

Mario Gotze had a very good game against Czech Republic, many touches on the ball, worked tremendously hard, moved into channels at the right time, and always contributed towards creating goal-scoring opportunities. This has given rise to a new self-confidence, and every match helps him get back to wear he was two years ago.

The November games will be used to try and put in some elements of variation. He has always stated it will be their clear objective to blood up-and-coming new players, and slowly but surely integrate them into their side. He is sure they will win against San Marino, but Italy are a different proposition. That game could be a great opportunity to just throw players in at the deep end. He is thinking especially of those currently with the U21 team who will be available for the senior squad in November.

Löw: "Northern Ireland will play more defensively" - summary of the press conference from

"Enke-App" leistet Hilfe in der Not - from

Mit dem Bus nach Hannover - 10 October 2016

"I don't know if it will be a more difficult game. We need exactly the same focus on goal, the same movement and the same accurate passing on Tuesday. Northern Ireland will probably sit back even more than Czech Republic. When we want to be successful, we have to play exactly as we know we can." from, - 9 October 2016

Speaking of Northern Ireland on, Joachim Löw said that memories of their Euro 2016 clash were still fresh. "They are a passionate team and the players have true fighting spirit. The majority of their squad from the Euros will be in Hannover so we know what to expect," - 30 September 2016

For squad details for the October international break, see my Czech Republic match page.

Last updated 16 October 2016
With thanks to everyone, especially Silke, Susanne, Fernanda and Lucille.
Anything else you think I should include on this page? Let me know!