Loew not down on Irish chances

The press conference room in the bowels of the Aviva Stadium has housed many a pantomime moment over its short life, but never was there a chance of Joachim Loew adding to the theatrics.

His address to the awaiting media delayed due the late arrival from Dublin airport of his media officer, the Germany manager filled the time by perching himself against the top table while staring silently towards the back of the rising rows of seats.

It’s the same table we’ve become familiar with, witnessing Giovanni Trapattoni bang with his fist in fury in an attempt to enforce his many mangled messages to the assembled press.

None of that caper for the ice-cool Loew.

Only after his chaperone belatedly lands in does he remove the signature scarf, for which he became famous at the 2010 World Cup finals.

Hands by his side throughout, the 52-year-old deals courteously with each question fired, including some doubting the unity of his squad and the latest view of Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness that Germany’s veteran striker Miroslav Klose doesn’t score enough against the bigger nations.

This wasn’t a platform to indulge in Ireland’s injury woes either. Trapattoni was on the other side of Dublin reeling with news of Robbie Keane’s injury-enforced loss.

“What we mustn’t do is believe that Ireland will think they are beaten at any time in the game,” cautioned the manager to his side, ranked No 2 in the world.

“Ireland will have belief and will strive to score a goal and maybe even go for victory.

“We have to play as a compact unit and counter the Irish game which is fast. Even with Giovanni Trapattoni in charge, they play long fast balls to the end of the field. We have to break that rhythm.

“I watched Ireland against Spain (the 0-4 defeat at Euro 2012) and Spain only became dominant as the match wore on, through in large parts it didn’t look that clear at all.

“Even 1-0, 2-0 down, the Irish fought on. They showed tremendous pride, and readiness to give their all for their country and supporters.

“They will have the same kind of support tomorrow. The atmosphere here will be electric; they will be behind the team like one man, no matter what the score is. We will be treated to a fantastic atmosphere.

“You can expect my team to be there from the word go and offer resistance. We will be seeing a different match to the one Ireland played against Spain.”

In Germany, where second is considered failure, the post-mortem of the side’s Euro 2012 semi-final exit to Italy has not waned. A maximum six points from their opening pair of qualifiers against Faroe Islands and Austria has only gone so far to silencing Loew’s doubters.

The remarks too by Bastian Schweinsteiger, deputising as captain tonight for the suspended Philipp Lahm, about a lack of team spirit at the Euros suggested further disquiet, yet Loew presented a rational explanation for what he considers one of many fusses.

“He (Schweinsteiger) came to the Euros dejected after losing the Bundesliga title to Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League final to Chelsea,” he said.

“He felt the odd detail could be changed for the better in the German camp. I told him I didn’t have that feeling.

“Everyone agreed that the mood in the German camp at the tournament was fantastic. Trying to keep everyone happy for seven weeks is not easy.

“There was friction to a degree with Bastian. The support was great in 2010, maybe in 2012 not so great. That was because pre-conditions were different.”

As for Klose, the frontman set to win his 125th cap tonight, his manager was standing by his man.

“Klose has been written off by German media — but not by me,” he said. “It is phenomenal to play at 34 and land running in Italy (for Lazio).

“I don’t understand Uli’s remarks. Klose has done a world of good for German football, he has made immense contribution.”

And, with the swivel of his chair, he’s then off out the side-door, satisfied again to demonstrate that the show is about his team and not him.

More in this section

Sport Push Notifications

By clicking on 'Sign Up' you will be the first to know about our latest and best sporting content on this browser.

Sign Up

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd