Low struggles with attacking options

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The Independent Football

Joachim Low, the German coach, has had to wait another 24 hours to discover whether he will be allowed to work with his squad during tomorrow's quarter-final against Portugal in Basle.

Low was dismissed during Monday's group stage victory over Austria along with his counterpart Josef Hickersberger. Uefa's control and disciplinary body had been expected to deliver its judgement yesterday but will now give an announcement this morning.

Low would be denied access to his team after arriving at the stadium, should the ban be upheld, and he would not be allowed to communicate with his players during the game or at half-time. Uefa spokesman William Gaillard said: "It is strictly enforced like any disciplinary measure. If you suspend a player, he does not participate in the match. The suspension of a coach means he does not go to the dressing room or communicate with the bench during the match."

Low has enough problems as it is with Lukas Podolski, his only functioning forward, struggling with an ankle injury. Even if Podolski is fit, Low has to decide whether to reform the attacking partnership with Miroslav Klose which was such a success in the 2006 World Cup, or keep him on the left flank from where he has scored three times. If he does that he must choose between the hapless Mario Gomez, who has had a shocking tournament, the out-of-favour Kevin Kuranyi, or veteran Oliver Neuville, who played last season in Bundesliga 2, to partner Klose.

"Our attack wasn't as good as it should have been," said Low. "We should have been ahead at the start of the match, with chances for Gomez and Klose." Low added: "It's clear to me that we have to make an enormous improvement for the quarter-finals."

Franz Beckenbauer agreed: "Do we have a chance with such a performance against Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese side? No, definitely not!" wrote Der Kaiser in his newspaper column.

While Germany's progress is accompanied by fear and recrimination Austria's exit brought only praise. With most home fans expecting their team to be humiliated - that they came third in the group, and never lost by more than a single goal, was seen as a success.

"The Austrian team has shown it is much better than its reputation and can hold its own at a high level," said Hickersberger, who may now continue as coach. "We have gained tournament experience and felt a euphoria behind us which we have never experienced before," added captain Andreas Ivanschitz.

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