German team will be back for more, but will Loew?
Germany’s young players will be older, more experienced and
quite possibly better by the time of the next World Cup. Whether
coach Joachim Loew will be there to guide them is uncertain.
Loew has remained silent on his future after contract extension
negotiations with the German soccer federation broke down. A
decision is expected soon after the World Cup ends Sunday.
The coach says the group he picked – a multicultural team
playing with flair and skill – has a bright future no matter who is
leading it. Germany reached the semifinals for the third straight
tournament and can finish third, just as it did four years ago at
“This team will remain together,” Loew said after Wednesday’s
1-0 semifinal loss to Spain. “This team has very good players and
many possibilities. No matter who is in charge, it will stay
together. The team’s development is not at its end, it has just
“We wanted to achieve a lot and we are disappointed not to have
gone through to the final. But I must give my players compliments
how they played at this tournament. We gave everything. We gave our
Loew’s team will now play Uruguay in Saturday’s third-place
match in Port Elizabeth, with the coach saying his team wants to
end the tournament in style. The Germans could be without striker
Miroslav Klose, who has a back injury.
The game also could be Loew’s last in charge. The 50-year-old
coach fell out with the federation in February over several issues,
including pay and staffing decisions.
Federation president Theo Zwanziger has said he would like Loew
to stay and the players also have backed him.
“We need a good coach and he’s a very good coach,” captain
Philipp Lahm said. “But it’s not our decision.”
Lahm said the team was disappointed by the semifinal loss to
Spain, the team that also beat Germany 1-0 in the 2008 European
Championship final. That was Loew’s first major tournament in
“But we played a very good tournament here. We have a lot of
quality and we’ll work more to be able to play for the title
again,” Lahm said. “It’s good that I have a few more years ahead
of me. We have the chance to mix it up with the top teams for years
Germany arrived in South Africa with its second-youngest World
Cup team ever and unsure of its true potential. A 4-1 victory over
England in the second round and then 4-0 over Argentina raised
hopes of the country’s fourth World Cup title.
But Germany ran into a very polished Spain team performing at
its best and had its shortcomings exposed.
“We can learn from this game,” Loew assistant Hansi Flick said
Thursday. “These young players can develop further and we can work
to achieve a higher technical level. There is a lot of potential in
this group and a great team spirit.
“We can play very good football and our attack was
Germany faces another tricky decision. Michael Ballack, its
longtime captain and leader, missed the World Cup with an ankle
injury. He wants to return – but Lahm wants to keep the
“I spoke honestly. When it’s fun you want to continue and I am
having fun. It’s not a power struggle, the power is with the coach.
I have no problem whatsoever if Ballack comes back and wants the
captaincy. It’s not my job to say who gets it,” Lahm said.
“I am not going to give him back my armband voluntarily but I
have no problem if the coach gives it back to him.”
Germany will be flying home Sunday and, unlike four years ago
when the team showed up at a stage in Berlin to be celebrated by
tens of thousands of home fans, there will be no party this
“We wanted more than third place,” Lahm said. “We felt it
wouldn’t be appropriate to have a party.”