CHRISTOPH LOTHER / AIPS: For the 16th time in a row Germany are among the top eight at the World Cup but the mood back home is subdued.
Although he has taken his team to the quarterfinals of a major tournament for the fourth time – after 2008, 2010 and 2012 – national coach Joachim Low is under fire before today’s quarter-final against France in Maracana.
The reasons for this harsh criticism are the unexpectedly tight win against Algeria in the second round and Low’s many tactical rearrangements.
Philipp Lahm was the best right-back worldwide and has to return to this position against France, say some critics; Kevin Grosskreutz should play at rightback with young Erik Durm at leftback.
Some argue about whether Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira should play Germany’s defensive midfield, others about whether Thomas Müller or Miroslav Klose should be the lone starting striker.
Whatever he does, it seems as if Low is always wrong. But where does this come from?
Perhaps it is a fear of the Germans being pipped at the post again as in 2010, when they lost 1-0 in the World Cup semi-finals against Spa, or at Euro 2012, when they lost 2-1 in the semi-final again against Italy.
In the latter case Low made the mistake of imposing man-marking on Italy’s playmaker Andrea Pirlo and undermining his own team’s style.
Will Low will a similar mistake now against France?
The trust of the Germans in this golden generation of players such as Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Per Mertesacker supplemented with aspiring talents such as Mario Gotze or Andre Schurrle has rarely been as marked as now.
Unfortunately it seems that an equivalent level of distrust exists in Low.
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com
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