Löw puts on a brave face after spate of injuries
Monday 07 June 2010
German coach Joachim Löw insisted yesterday that his squad would go into the World Cup in top form and good heart despite suffering a cruel string of injuries which has ruled out several first-choice players.
Injuries have so far accounted for Chelsea's Michael Ballack, the forceful captain, and four other players, severely restricting Löw's options in midfield for the tournament in South Africa and, in the process, robbing his team of its natural leader.
But two comfortable victories against Hungary and Bosnia in the past few days have demonstrated that the Germans have been more than able to absorb the shock of these withdrawals, with the team playing at times mesmerising football.
"We are going into this tournament well prepared," Löw said before the squad boarded the huge A380 passenger plane bound for Johannesburg. The squad, who will arrive today, will then travel to their base outside Pretoria.
"I have full confidence in the quality of our team," Löw added.
While he still has to finalise his choices in defence and attack, Löw seems to have decided on his new-look midfield. Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger have made a seamless transition from supporting actors under Ballack to establishing themselves in leading roles, combining beautifully to initiate Germany's offensive play from their holding midfield positions.
Thomas Müller also looks to have edged out any rivals for a spot on the wing, with the 20-year-old excelling with some fine performances. Overall, Ballack's injury looks to have been a blessing in disguise with the team playing more freely, the captain's responsibilities now shared by more than just one player.
"We know what we have to do," said the impressive Schweinsteiger. "Most of us have gone through these situations before."
Germany take on Australia in their first Group D match on 13 June before tackling Serbia and Ghana.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Manchester United player ratings: Match-winner Eden Hazard leads the way, but Radamel Falcao endures game to forget
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0: Eight things we learnt as Blues step closer to the Premier League title
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Where are the tickets for the fight?
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho plays down news signings Nathan and Yoshinori Muto but talks up Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta needs 'five minutes' to sign new contract and remain with the Gunners
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales