Germany boss Joachim Low is confident his side will bounce back against Group F rivals Sweden in Sochi tonight, declaring he “trusts” his players.
Low’s reigning champions suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opening game in Moscow last Sunday and Low expects a big response from his players against Sweden, who saw off South Korea 1-0.
“This week the players have shown a reaction in training, but tomorrow is what counts,” Low told a press conference.
“We have to see a reaction and a difference when it comes to performance on the pitch. I’m convinced they will show the right reaction.
“We have to deliver and if we win we’re back in the race. We’ll see how the tournament goes on after that.”
Low admitted defeat had been hard to swallow and that his side played without confidence against Mexico.
“It was no doubt a painful defeat against Mexico. We made many mistakes but we have processed them, talked about them and trained to avoid them.
“It wasn’t the same team, there wasn’t that self-confidence that we’re used to,” he said.
“But the mistakes we made in that match, and there were quite a few, we’ve really analysed them and can put that right.
“Right now I feel there’s a positive tension and focus in the team and if we are able to show our quality, that will be the right reaction from the team.”
Low confirmed defender Mats Hummels was a major doubt after twisting his neck during training.
“Mats Hummels will most likely not be able to play because he injured his neck in training yesterday and it has not improved until today,” Low said.
“He has not trained and obviously there are still a few hours but usually these things do not improve considerably overnight and tomorrow we need fit players. I think it makes no sense (for him to play).”
A likely replacement for Hummels is Antonio Rudiger but Low said he would wait until tomorrow to see Hummels’ condition. Bayern Munich team-mate Niklas Sule could start. Low, however, ruled out the team overhaul which many German fans have called for, saying trust for his players, many of them 2014 World Cup winners, had not been lost.
“Why should that be the case? The fundamental trust for these players, who have played for years on a good level, will not be destroyed with one game,” the 58-year-old said.
Sweden’s preparations have been disrupted through illness and injury, but coach Janne Andersson is determined not to let a golden opportunity pass by after his side’s opening win.
Filip Helander, fellow defender Pontus Jansson and midfielder Marcus Rohden did not travel with the rest of the squad from Gelendzhik.
All three players have been kept apart from the main group after struggling with stomach upsets, but they are expected to team up with them in Sochi. Striker Isaac Kiese Thelin (ankle) is an injury doubt.
“These are the moments you live for, that you have worked your entire career for,” Andersson told a press conference.
“It’s fun and exciting. We hope to get a result with us, it’s a fantastic opportunity to advance from the group already in the second match.”
Andersson expects Germany to dominate possession against his side, but is confident his players will rise to the challenge. “We have our own game as well and in this type of match we need to be at our best individually and as a team and we have been at that level,” he said.
“But against a team like Germany we do expect them to have more possession, that’s absolutely clear.”
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