Euro 2016: Still a lot of fun, says German coach Loew

Sports Tuesday 07/June/2016 20:36 PM
By: Times News Service
Euro 2016: Still a lot of fun, says German coach Loew

Berlin: Germany coach Joachim Loew is as motivated as ever going into his fifth major tournament at the helm of the national side.
Loew is hoping for a second successive title after winning the 2014 World Cup and tells dpa in an interview he still feels the drive to win.
Germany will be one of the favourites as they seek a fourth European title at the June 10-July 10 tournament, with their campaign beginning against Ukraine in Lille on Sunday.
But European champions Spain are looking strong again after their early 2014 World Cup exit, while Loew is wary of hosts France.
Loew draws parallels with the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when he was assistant coach for an unfancied Germany team which rode a wave of euphoria to reach the semifinals.
"France is for me one of the clear favourites for the title," he said in the interview made before the squad departed Tuesday for their French base in Evian-les Bains.
France as hosts would be under pressure but would be inspired by home support, said Loew, who was assistant to Juergen Klinsmann at the 2006 World Cup when Germany went out to Italy in extra-time in the last four.
"Perhaps the same thing will happen as the 2006 World Cup in Germany, so that after the first game a euphoria and energy arises which can lift the team through the tournament," he said.
France also have "a very good team with a good vision, a strong midfield...a very balanced team."
Loew also recalled the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when Germany won a tight game against Les Bleus 1-0.
"It was a close match which we won from a set-piece. France were on a par with us and have developed further over the past two years," he said.
Among the top favourites, Loew also picked out Spain and Belgium, while Italy should not be underestimated and England are "much stronger" than going into previous tournaments.
Loew, 56, will be the first national team coach at a third Euro in 10 years at the helm — and he has reached at least the semi-final in all of his major tournaments (two World Cups, two Euros) in charge.
"It's still a lot of fun for me," he said.
"I still feel the drive to develop the team and the players, And I really enjoyed the success we had at the World Cup in Brazil. You keep the drive afterwards, I have noticed. Part of this drive and motivation is (the desire) to repeat a title win."
Loew said he was "in my world, my own tunnel" during a tournament and had now learned to shut out everything from the outside.
"I know now more than before what happens during a tournament, what measures have to be taken, how the focus has to be on what is essential," he said.
"I know that what comes from the outside does not count. As coach you have responsibilities and have to take decisions. You have to keep your eye on what is essential, on the team, on individual players. That is what counts at a tournament."
Loew has a contract taking him to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and his planning has always taken into account the four-yearly cycle between World Cups.
His squad includes youngsters such as Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich. Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigle and Schalke striker Leroy Sane, who will all gain invaluable tournament experience in France.
However the Euro is not just a stepping stone on the way to the next World Cup.
"I haven't had 2018 in my sights now for several months. Since the beginning of the year I have been thinking only of this European Championship. Only then will my gaze go back to the World Cup," he said.
"After the World Cup in Brazil I said. 'Okay, we have a four-year plan, design a master plan. Which players come into question in 2018? We must not lose sight of it. But currently I am preoccupied with the European Championship."
Loew looks closely at other coaches and playing styles, indicating Pep Guardiola has been an influence at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Barcelona were always a point of reference, while Bayern were now a yardstick.
"There are also elements in England and Italy which are important. The Copa America with teams like Chile Argentina, Brazil, Colombia was always important for me. You see changes there which are positive for football," he said.
Watching last year's Copa America winners Chile was "interesting" because "this team does things you don't expect," he said.
"They play with some risk out of defence, sometimes outnumbered. You look for different coaches and different football cultures, elements which are good for you. And you try to incorporate these."
However Loew wants to remain his own man when it comes to how he leads his team and appears in public.
"It's not about copying anyone. I want to be authentic," he said.