Football

GERMANS IN GREAT SHAPE TO MAKE HISTORY

Latin American teams have been highly motivated in their home region and have coped better with the heat and humidity, helping explain why so many European teams were knocked out at the World Cup's group stage, Germany coach Joachim Loew said.

"The South American teams are obviously at home on their own continent and the Central American teams are also keen to prove to the world the great class they have and how strong they are," Loew said, ahead of his team's Round-of-16 clash with Algeria tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"You get the feeling in some of the matches that they're playing for their lives," he said.

"Maybe that's part of the reason that surprisingly there are so few European teams left."

Germany (above) are seeking to become the first European team to win a World Cup in Latin America. This is the seventh World Cup to be held in the region.

Loew revealed his team put an emphasis on adapting to local conditions and preparing for opponents from the Americas.

"It's surprising that so many European teams aren't here anymore," said Loew.

"Great football nations like Spain, Italy, Portugal, England are all out - I can't ever recall so many favourites from Europe going home after the group phase."

Loew and his coaches have been warning their players - and journalists - for months that the conditions in Brazil would pose numerous special challenges for European teams.

"It was clear that the South Americans were going to be extremely motivated for this World Cup on their home continent," he said.

NO ADVANTAGE

"Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil have been getting ready for this for many, many years."

If the Algerians think they will enter the match with an advantage, they would be wrong.

With typical German thoroughness, Loew put his team's base in a secluded resort on the Atlantic coast in the middle of the tropical heat that is also within an hour or two's flight to many match locations.

He also paid great attention to details - such as making sure the grass on the training pitch was from South America, and all training sessions have been held in the midday heat. - Reuters.

World Cup