Under-pressure Joachim Loew remains defiant despite defeat to France

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew gestures during the UEFA Nations League football match between France and Germany at the Stade de France, in which his side lost 2-1. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Under-pressure Joachim Loew remains defiant despite defeat to France

  • The Germans are bottom of Group A after back-to-back defeats to the Netherlands and France
  • Germany coach praised his young team for a stronger showing in Paris

LONDON: The pressure continued to mount on Joachim Loew this week as Germany suffered another defeat in the UEFA Nations League, this time to world champions France, but the head coach remains defiant.
The Germans are bottom of Group A after back-to-back defeats to the Netherlands and France, and face the ignominy of being relegated to League B for the next instalment of the tournament.
Germany took the lead through a Toni Kroos penalty in the first half, but Antoine Griezmann’s header and penalty saw France complete a second half turnaround.
Tuesday’s game saw a much better performance from Loew’s side after their 3-0 hammering at the hands of the Dutch, and the German praised his young team for a stronger showing in Paris.

“(Yes) I’m disappointed with the result, although I must say the defeat is different to Saturday’s,” he said. “Not because of the result but because of the performance. I’m very pleased with the performance.
“I think we were on an even level with what is probably the best team in the world. But France has a lot of individual quality, and if you’re not careful you’ll get punished straight away.”
After Toni Kroos had put Germany ahead, Loew was left to rue missed chances.
“The negative point is the converting of our chances. We were unable to put the ball in the goal,” he added. “I think we deserved to win because we were the best team but that’s not how things work. We lacked a bit of intelligence. If we’d been able to score a second we could have played in a calmer manner and won the match.”
Indeed, his French counterpart Didier Deschamps acknowledged his side had been outplayed by Germany in the first half.
“We struggled to stop them, they went through us,” he said. “Our positioning wasn’t quite what it should have been.”
But France captain Hugo Lloris was full of praise for his team and their “mental strength” in coming from behind against a quality side like Germany. “When we lift our level, the players’ talents really come to the fore,” he said.
Raphael Varane, who aged 25 has already won a World Cup and four Champions League titles with Real Madrid, was pleased France’s mental maturity shown on their run to World Cup glory was on display against the Germans.

“We managed to win the World Cup thanks to our mental qualities, despite some difficult moments. We have to keep these values, and not allow panic to set in. We have confidence in ourselves, and we know what we’re capable of.”
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann admitted the first half against Germany was much like how the French played against Iceland.
“We weren’t ourselves, either in the one-on-ones or in terms of the efforts we made for each other. The coach and the players talked at half-time and in the second half we saw the team that won the World Cup.”


Sam Curran and Jos Buttler save England against Sri Lanka spin in Kandy

Updated 15 min 43 sec ago
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Sam Curran and Jos Buttler save England against Sri Lanka spin in Kandy

KANDY: Sri Lanka’s spinners claimed some big-name England wickets on the first day of the second Test on Wednesday before Jos Buttler and Sam Curran rescued the innings.
Buttler’s 63 and a crucial 64 from Curran at the end lifted England to 285 all out after they had been struggling on 89-4 on the turning Pallekelle stadium pitch.
Curran, fast becoming an England hero, said reaching near 300 was a “massive” achievement.
England spinner Jack Leach then strengthened England’s position, dismissing opener Kaushal Silva in the 12 overs Sri Lanka faced as the home side reached 26 for one at the close.
A day that saw Ben Stokes, batting at the key number three position, become the latest to fail also reinforced Buttler and Curran’s standing lower down the order.
England were in trouble against spinners Dilruwan Perera who took four wickets, Malinda Pushpakumara (three) and Akila Dananjaya (two) when Buttler came in to counter-attack with five boundaries and a crucial 45-run stand with Adil Rashid who made 31.
Buttler’s 63 off 67 deliveries ensured Sri Lanka did not convert a good position into a dominant one, as he swept and reverse swept furiously and effectively. He was eventually out top-edging a reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Pushpakumara, playing his first Test for more than a year.
Curran was even more important, taking 50 balls to reach double figures before he tore into the Sri Lankan bowling. He hit six sixes and a four off the spinners and his last wicket partnership of 60 with Jimmy Anderson was the best of the innings.
“It was crucial. You saw in the evening how much it spun. Getting close to 300 was massive for us,” said Curran.
“Me and Jimmy had quite a bit of fun out there. He was probably the one telling me to calm down and trust him.”
Stokes, who batted at number five in his team’s opening win last week, was boosted up the order in the latest bid to find a solid number three. Off-spinner Perera successfully reviewed an lbw decision against Stokes after the on-field umpire had turned down an appeal. He was out for 19.
England captain Joe Root, who scored 35 and three in the first Test, was bowled by Pushpakumara in the 18th over for 14 and opener Rory Burns (43) soon followed as England lost regular wickets on the dry, crumbling surface.
Curran said the wicket was fast breaking up and the cracks growing so England spinners must be looking forward to the second day. Ten of the 11 wickets to fall Wednesday went to spinners.
There were several near misses during the 12 overs Sri Lanka faced, with Karunaratne edging a ball just low and wide of slip off the bowling of Ali when he was on 12.
Leach then made the breakthrough at the other end, getting a ball to break sharply off the surface and beat Kaushal Silva’s forward defense, to rattle off stump — the batsman dismissed for 6.
Nightwatchman Pushpakumara then survived the 15 balls he faced before stumps.