Football

Loew: we can score goals

Germany boss wants his 
players to take on opponents more in one-on-one situations

They fired blanks against Poland in a goalless draw on Thursday but Germany coach Joachim Loew is not pressing the panic button on his team's lack of firepower.

Loew is confident the world champions will return to scoring ways in their final Group C match against Northern Ireland on Wednesday morning (Singapore time) and top their group with a win.

"Our team in all the matches creates chances. I don't see it as a fundamental problem for us. It just appeared in that one match," Loew said yesterday.

"We always scored many goals. I don't see an attacking problem after one game."

Loew deployed attacking midfielder Mario Goetze as a forward against Poland, as he had done in their opener against Ukraine, but the 24-year-old failed to make a mark against a tight defence.

He then brought on striker Mario Gomez in the final 18 minutes, but the 30-year-old also failed to make any meaningful impact.

"The problem was neither Goetze nor Gomez," Loew said.

"The problem was we did not play our game coming from deep, we did not do our runs down the pitch."

He said teams need players who can dribble past defenders in one-on-one situations to break open the packed backlines against defensive-minded teams in the tournament.

"We need players to take on one-on-ones," he said.

"Dribblers today are an important factor for teams at this Euro because some teams, as feared, are defensively very deep and are defending with nine or 10.

"Northern Ireland defend with a six-man line and three in front.

"We do not have many who can do that (one-on-one). Our team operate with passing and combinations.

"So because we don't have many one-on-one players, we have to combine and plan our runs."

CONFIDENT

Loew, whose team are eyeing a fourth continental title to add to their four World Cup crowns, said he was confident his players would deliver against Northern Ireland.

"We want to win, we will win and we will top the group," he said.

"I think we will then play in Lille for our Round of 16. I don't know any other way."

Germany are top of their group on four points, ahead of Poland on goal difference.

Northern Ireland are on three, with Ukraine bottom after two losses from two games.

Loew also said that the old 16-team Euro Finals was better than the new expanded 24-team format because there were more big clashes from day one of the competition.

Uefa introduced eight more teams for Euro 2016, which led to the introduction of an extra last-16 round.

As a result, the four best third-placed teams now join the top two from each group in the knockout rounds.

Previously, only the top two from the four groups advanced straight into the quarter-finals.

"The 16 teams' (format) was ideal. It made for great matches from day one." said Loew.

"This is a different situation and a return to the old system is obviously not possible anymore. So we have to accept that."

The introduction of more teams has meant some smaller, less powerful footballing nations such as Iceland and Albania have also qualified, arming themselves with populous defences.

After 21 matches, only one team, Spain, have managed to score three goals in one game.

"There are teams playing ultra defensively. But they do that well.

"The smaller nations like Albania and Wales are defensively very well schooled.

"They see their chance in that, so that is why we had only up to two goals per game until yesterday's Spain win (3-0) over Turkey," added the 56-year-old.

Loew was also unhappy with the qualification modus for the Round of 16.

"Teams with one point from two matches still have a chance for the Round of 16," he said.

"That is not very fair, but it is what it is. So we just have to accept it and use the time we have to prepare for any opponent." - Reuters.

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