We must win the German way against Italy says Joachim Löw
As the German squad enjoyed their last day in their plush base outside Gdansk before setting off for Warsaw and tomorrow night's semi-final, the final press conference there took some odd turns. Not least was the question to Miroslav Klose over whether Italians are "lazy" and another to Joachim Löw as to whether he himself is "sexy".
The German manager stayed unwaveringly on message, however. Indeed, ahead of what may be a defining game for his young team against a country they have never beaten in an international tournament, Löw gave a hugely impressive and in-depth reiteration of the qualities and philosophy that have propelled their progress.
He dismissed Germany's poor record against Italy as completely irrelevant, underlining his squad's belief that the key to football is to try to create new realities.
"The past doesn't play even the slightest role in our preparations... the Germans have never beaten Italy in a major tournament. So what? This has no effect on our young players. It's not even an issue. People don't even talk about."
Löw went on: "We will have to try and take the game to the opposition, to play to our own rhythm and win the German way.
"We know where Italy stand. They have excellent strengths, lots of qualities. But we also know where their difficulties are and where they might have problems. What will be important is whether we take our game to the opposition, not vice-versa. If we manage to do that, to maintain a higher level of concentration, to be solid at the back, if all of these factors converge then with a bit of confidence we will win."
By mentioning the need for focus and solidity, Löw perhaps did admit the one flaw in this German team: their openness. But he outlined how the forensic approach gives them so many other advantages. As he put it, Germany "benefit from the 'scientification' of football".
His team and staff attempt to look at new possibilities by testing the old, potentially flawed truisms of the past. "I do not believe in the old cliché of never changing a winning team. If I look at my players, they have so many different abilities I can put in," Löw said.
"The philosophy has to stay the same... the bottom line is what we can do to improve it."
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