RIO DE JANEIRO: Manager Joachim Low described the reasoning behind the changes in personnel and tactics which brought Germany superiority and eventually a 1-0 win over France in their World Cup quarter-final writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Victory saw Germany to become the only nation to reach four successive World Cup semi-finals courtesy of an early goal from Mats Hummel.
Low had sprung a surprise by dropping centre-back Per Mertesacker, moving Jerome Boateng inside and switching anchor man Philipp Lahm back to his ‘old’ position of rightback. In attack veteran Miroslav Klose started in a traditional centre forward role with orders to move left and right and restrict the fullbacks’ attacking raids.
Low, deeply disturbed by Germany’s second round struggle against Algeria, said: “We knew France are strong through the centre so I had the idea to have Lahm on the right so we could go more through the wings so it was a tactical decision.
“Using Boateng alongside Hummels was also for tactical reasons because French players such as Valbuena and Griezmann have great speed going forward. I spoke to Mertesacker about this and he had a marvellous reaction.”
The result of the changes was to provide a platform for victory.
Low said: “Both teams showed a great defensive performace. Both were also strong in attack. We didn’t permit that many opportunities to France and in the final phase we could have scored a second goal ourselves.
“We were always trying to push our opponents, step on their toes so we were able to control the danger presented by [Karim] Benzema and the others.”
Low would not commit himself to retaining formation and line-up for the semi-final.
He said: “One of our tactical strengths is that we can play different ways. We won three of our matches [and] we have won 28 out of our last 31 competitive matches an so that’s quite performane, I think.”
Low was again full of praise for goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
He said: “Manuel Neuer has the confidence of the whole team. It’s a great feeling for the defenders to know that he is very good both in the penalty box and good outside the penalty box.
“He’s a great football player and you can pass the ball to him like he is another defensive player and he is superb on the line. Since 2010 he has been among the best in the world, possibly the best in the world.”