Loew defends Confed Cup team
FRANKFURT: Germany coach Joachim Loew is looking forward to the challenge of the upcoming Confederations Cup and has again defended his decision not to take several top stars to Russia.
“I do not see that as a big risk, quite the opposite,” he said ahead of the squad gathering in Frankfurt yesterday.
Building a squad capable of defending the World Cup won in 2014 in Russia next year has top priority, rather than adding the Confederations Cup to the trophy cabinet.
“Next year we must be in top form and deliver a good performance,” Loew said. “Of course it is always expected of the Germany team to be successful. But I believe that everyone can appreciate a World Cup or European Championships stands above the Confederations Cup in sporting value.”
Goalkeeper captain Manuel Neuer is injured, but other World Cup winners Toni Kroos, Mesut Oezil and Thomas Mueller have been given time to rest. There has been criticism of this move, particularly from hosts Russia.
“I can, of course, understand that some have a certain disappointment,” Loew said. “But the fans want to see these top players at a good level for another couple of years. And they do not want to see them injured.”
The June 17-July 2 Confederations Cup across four Russian cities is seen by Loew as “a chance” and a “broadening of horizons” for his team.
“We have a young, altered team, with whom we are working from scratch to build a basis and teach them our playing philosophy,” he said.
“It will be an important experience for some players to play with the A-team against Australia, Cameroon or Chile. That is something different to the Bundesliga or the Europa League.
“There are other mentalities, different ideas of football from what we know here.”
Loew said the Confed Cup was “a tournament for testing – both for the hosts and for us.”
Loew was assistant to Juergen Klinsmann when Germany hosted the 2005 Confed Cup as build-up to the World Cup a year later, which sparked the team’s revival.
“That was good for us: the team found itself, ” Loew said. “You could test the processes, the stadiums, the logistics. This was an excellent test.
“There was also a certain euphoria in the country. The Confed Cup is very important for this, also now in Russia. And the Russians are looking forward to this tournament, they are inspired by football.”
Loew did not dismiss the controversial political situation in Russia but insisted it would not influence events on the pitch.
“It is known what our team stands for: values like openness, diversity, integration, tolerance, fair play but also the joy of playing, team-work and success. Of course it would be desirable if such values were applied everywhere in the world.
“But I think you should not ask football to overcome problems which politics can also not solve. We know that in Russia we will be confronted by social issues. We will also inform and educate our players about that in the appropriate form.
“It is clear that we do not travel through other countries with blinkers on. The circumstances there always interest us.”