Loew’s pleas­ant Cup se­lec­tion headache

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - at the tour­na­ment com­pleted on Sun­day.. “We cer­tainly have a lot of play­ers who in those two tour­na­ments have filled up on con­fi­dence,” Loew said. “But for those play­ers the work is just start­ing, the big tour­na­ments are still to come. To get to world c

ST PETERS­BURG: Af­ter Ger­many’s success at the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup and Un­der 21 Euro­pean cham­pi­onship over the last few days, coach Joachim Loew must feel like a kid in a candy store as he maps out his plans for next year’s World Cup ti­tle de­fence in Russia.

De­spite rest­ing more than half a dozen key play­ers this sum­mer, Ger­many won the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup for the first time by beat­ing the South Amer­i­can cham­pi­ons Chile 1-0.

Two days ear­lier, the coun­try’s Un­der-21 team se­cured the Euro­pean ti­tle, shock­ing favourites Spain by the same score and con­firm­ing the coun­try’s stel­lar work at youth level.

The 57-year-old Loew, now in his 11th year in charge, has a pool of more than 40 play­ers to mon­i­tor as the clock ticks down to next year’s World Cup fi­nals.

All of them bat­tle-tested and with tour­na­ment ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Joachim Loew now has the big chance, with a mix of ex­pe­ri­ence and dy­namism, to put to­gether a strong squad (for next year),” said Ger­man Foot­ball Association (DFB) Pres­i­dent Rein­hard Grindel.

“We have a big pool to chose from.”

The big­gest prob­lem for Loew is likely to be who to leave out.

Play­ers such as Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup top scor­ers Timo Werner, Lars Stindl and Leon Goret­zka, who all net­ted three times at the tour­na­ment, have ev­ery right to be­lieve their fine per­for­mances in Russia will be a step­ping stone to the 2018 World Cup squad.

An­to­nio Ruedi­ger, Se­bas­tian Rudy and Mathias Gin­ter also rose to the oc­ca­sion.

And then there’s Ju­lian Draxler who cap­tained the team in the ab­sence of Manuel Neue and was voted player of the tour­na­ment first team play­ers from the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, such as Leroy Sane, Ilkay Guen­do­gan, Ju­lian Weigl and Jonathan Tah.

But no one can af­ford to feel their po­si­tion is se­cure with the likes of Un­der-21 play­ers Jeremy Tol­jan, Nik­las Stark, Max­i­m­il­ian Arnold, Max Meyer, Serge Gnabry and Davie Selke push­ing for a place in the full squad.

While Loew was de­lighted to win both tour­na­ments, he said the World Cup would be an en­tirely dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion.

“Ger­many will al­ways be one of the favourites, no mat­ter what tour­na­ment,” Loew said. “Win­ning the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup and the Un­der-21 Euro win are no guar­an­tees.

“At a World Cup there are five, six teams you bat­tle against and ev­ery­one must al­most be su­per­hu­man to suc­ceed.” – Reuters

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

KICKER: Soccer Foot­ball - Chile v Ger­many - FIFA Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup Russia 2017 - Fi­nal - Saint Peters­burg Sta­dium, St. Peters­burg, Russia - July 2, 2017 Ger­many cel­e­brate with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the FIFA Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup

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