Football

Loew: We're 
a work in progress

Germany coach Joachim Loew was satisfied and relieved with his team's 1-0 win over the United States this morning (Singapore time) which clinched top spot in Group G and booked a last-16 berth.

He pointed out, however, that Germany still had plenty of room to improve, especially in their far-from-satisfying finishing which needs to be sharper when the World Cup enters the business end.

"There is always something to tweak, always something we can improve on," said Loew. "The organisation and the aggressiveness were better.

"I would have liked the team to be a bit more active, even though (the United States) were defending very deep."

Loew, who was seen flailing his arms and shouting angrily in stoppage time, said he was alarmed about carelessness in the closing stages when Germany missed a chance to double their lead and lost possession in midfield.

"We lost the ball at the end of the match unnecessarily and that's really dangerous - other teams take advantage of that," said Loew, assistant to US coach Juergen Klinsmann when he was Germany coach from 2004 to 2006 and a close friend of his.

"We had actually set out to avoid that kind of thing," he said when asked what had upset him.

"We could have had two or three more goals if we had played with a bit more finishing concentration."

BASTIAN BACK

Loew made two key changes to his midfield, replacing Sami Khedira with Bastian Schweinsteiger for the first time in Brazil and inserting the more experienced Lukas Podolski in place of Mario Goetze.

"I think we were dominant in midfield," said Loew. "Schweinsteiger left a good impression on me. He had energy, he had a good match."

Loew and Klinsmann had avoided all contact in the run-up to the World Cup but, after the final whistle, they revived their friendship dating back to a German coaching academy they attended together 14 years ago.

"I asked him about the result (of the Portugal-Ghana match) and he told me (the US) had also advanced to the next round," said Loew.

"I told him I'm happy for him. The United States were the underdogs and Juergen did it. If you've got a team that beat Ghana and draw against Portugal, I think you deserve to get to the last 16." - Reuters.

World Cup