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

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.”

Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

Updated 21 March 2019

Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

  • Former Saudi Arabia coach wants to guide the Whites to their first World Cup since 1990.
  • "If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here," Dutchman says of his new job.

LONDON: Bert van Marwijk has told the UAE he only has one thing on his mind: Getting the side to the 2022 World Cup. 

The former Saudi Arabia boss was unveiled as the new coach of the Whites before watching his new team beat his former team 2-1 in a friendly in Dubai (see right). While he was in the stand rather than the dugout — interim boss Saleem Abdelrahman took charge — he would have liked what he saw as he set himself the challenge of leading the UAE to their first showpiece since 1990. 

“I’m here for only one thing, and that’s to qualify for the World Cup,” the Dutchman said.  

“It takes a long time and the first thing we have to deal with is the first qualification round. That’s why I’m here.”

Van Marwijk was celebrated after he led the Green Falcons to last year's World Cup before calling it quits. (AFP) 

Van Marwijk guided Saudi Arabia to last year’s World Cup — the Green Falcons’ first appearance at the showpiece for 12 years — during a two-year stint which ended in September 2017.

That was one of the key reasons the UAE fought hard for the 66-year-old and while it is never easy getting through Asian qualifying — 46 teams going for just four direct slots at Qatar 2022 — the Dutchman claimed his experience, combined with his knowledge of the UAE, will stand him in good stead. 

“The Saudis and the UAE are about the same level. With the Saudis we qualified for Russia, so we will do really everything to go to Qatar in 2022,” Van Marwijk said. 

While he is fondly remembered in the Kingdom — only a contractual dispute regarding backroom staff meant he did not stay on as Green Falcons coach for the Russia tournament — it is his time as the Netherlands coach that really stands out on his managerial resume. Van Marwijk coached the Oranje to within minutes of the World Cup trophy, with only an Andres Iniesta extra-time winner preventing him from tasting ultimate glory against Spain in 2010. 

So why did he return to the Gulf for another crack at World Cup qualification in a tough, crowded race? 

“One of the reasons is the feeling. I have to have the right feeling when I sign a contract,” Van Marwijk said. “We analyzed the UAE, we played four times against each other with Saudi, so I can see the potential.

“I have had the experience to go to the World Cup twice. The first time we were second in the world, the second time was with Australia (which he coached last summer) and we were a little bit unlucky — we played very well. 

“So to go to the World Cup for the third time is the goal.”

Van Marwijk is all too aware his task will be difficult. The “Golden Generation” of Emirati footballers, spearheaded by Omar Abdulrahman, tried and failed to make it to football’s biggest tournament, and a lot of the next three years’ work will likely depend on a new generation.

“I heard there were some young talents, so I’m anxious to know how good they are,” the Dutchman said. “I know the team has a few very good players — the UAE has a few weapons. 

“That’s the most important thing. If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here.”