Vogts fears ambition of fired-up Lithuania
Tuesday 01 April 2003
Perceptions shift like the weather in football. Within an hour of landing in Lithuania, the Scotland squad saw frozen lakes, patches of snow, sleet showers and bright sunshine, while the tiny Baltic state's weekend draw away to Germany, which initially aroused Scottish delight, had been declared "the worst possible result" by Berti Vogts.
Scotland's German manager, who might have been expected to view the outcome in Nuremberg as having enhanced Scotland's prospects of reaching Euro 2004 as winners of Group Five, instead interpreted it as bad news. Not only would Germany now become more focused on their two meetings with the Scots, but Lithuania would be more fired up for tomorrow's qualifier in Kaunas.
"This result means only that they will concentrate more on beating Scotland," Vogts said of the country he coached to the 1996 European Championship. "It will just make them harder to beat. Have we forgotten that it is only nine months since they were in the World Cup final?
"I watched the video and saw all the reaction in Germany, especially from television. It was the same as you would expect if Scotland had taken a one-goal at home to Lithuania yet failed to win. Germany played well for the first 20 minutes, but then seemed to think the game was over."
Lithuania equalised seconds after the Spanish referee erroneously ruled out a 73rd-minute effort by Bernd Schneider, but Vogts said: "We must recognise that Germany scored a valid goal. A draw was the worst possible result because Lithuania will be fired up and thinking they can take the play-off place."
For Graham Alexander, who helped make both Scotland goals in the 2-1 win over Iceland, tomorrow's incentive was self-evident. Expressing the hope that Scotland could emulate Wales' spirit and success – a sign of the times – the Preston wing-back added: "I don't want to speak too soon, but it would be great to play Germany in June with us three points clear at the top. Then they would have to beat us at home."
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Chelsea's best XI of the season so far: Petr Cech has been better than Thibaut Courtois
Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Manchester City's Jesus Navas are the three best attacking midfielders in Europe in 2015
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 3 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 4 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 5 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London