Germany coach Joachim Loew remains confident that Germany can prevail against Spain in Wednesday’s semifinal clash with Spain in Durban despite the absence of the suspended Thomas Mueller.
The 20-year-old has been a revelation so far in South Africa, scoring four goals in five matches, but will have to sit out the game against the European champions after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the 4-0 drubbing of Argentina.
“When I see the players I have to choose from as replacements then I have a good feeling about it,” Loew said.
“I trust that (Piotr) Trochowski, Cacau, or Toni Kroos will fulfil the role to my satisfaction.” Brazil-born Cacau is the Germany coach’s only major fitness concern as VfB Stuttgart teammate Sami Khedira looks well on the road to recovery from a thigh muscle injury sustained against Argentina.
“It looks at the moment that all players will be fit with the exception of Cacau, who had a slight problems in training on Sunday.
We will have to wait and see if he is available for selection,” Loew revealed.
Khedira also missed training on Sunday, but Loew said the prognosis for the 23-year-old midfielder was much better.
“We expect that he will take part in training later, but maybe on his own,” he said.
The 50-year-old played down the hype surrounding his young team following impressive wins against England and Argentina, stating that the German squad was keeping its feet firmly on the ground.
“The mood is good but not euphoric. The team had a measured response to the Argentina match and is now focused on the game against Spain,” he said.
Spain emerged victorious the last time the two sides met in the Euro 2008 final. But Loew said there was no thirst for revenge among his players.
“There is no talk of revenge in our minds,” the German coach said.
“We lost the game in 2008 because Spain were far and away the best team during the whole tournament. But the situation is different this time. We’ve been stronger in this tournament than we were in 2008, so we have just cause to think we can win.”
Despite his optimism, Loew felt Spain should still be considered favourites because of their achievements in winning the European championship and coming through World Cup qualification with a 100 per cent record.
“They have been so consistent in the last two to three years and won all the important games,” he said. “They rarely make mistakes, defensively or in attack.” However, he believed Germany have grown stronger since being outclassed by Spain in the Ernst Happel stadium two years ago.
“We have spent years developing the playing capacity of our footballers. It was an important part of our plan that we be able to dominate a game through our playing ability,” he explained.
“We realised the need to be always dangerous when going forward and to possess the creativity needed to win games.” Football has developed hugely in the last four years, said Loew, pointing to the fact that fellow semifinalists Spain, the Netherlands and Uruguay are all offensively minded teams.
Keywords: 2010 FIFA World Cup