Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Low pleased to avoid fatigue after Euro 2016 campaign

SoccerNews in World Cup 22 Feb 2017

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Joachim Low is confident Germany will continue to dominate their World Cup qualifying group after identifying their 2014 triumph as a contributing factor to a slow start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

After guiding Germany to a fourth World Cup title in Brazil, Low saw his side make a slow start in their quest to reach the European Championship in France, winning just one of their opening three games.

However, the former Stuttgart coach believes the world champions suffered after a gruelling tournament and were better prepared for 2018 qualifying, despite reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

With four matches of their current campaign played, Germany have a 100 per cent record and lead second-placed Northern Ireland by five points in Group C of the European section of qualifying.

“Only one team can qualify [for the World Cup] automatically [from each group] and the others go into a play-off, so we set ourselves the target of dominating the campaign from the start,” Low told FIFA.com. “I think we’ve done that well.

“In 2014, after we became world champions, we had a few difficult moments. A tournament like that saps you in terms of physical and emotional strength.

“The players only had a short holiday and a brief pre-season, and sometimes it’s the case that teams who go far in a tournament can have some problems getting back into a rhythm.

“Other countries that don’t compete in those tournaments can relax and recharge the batteries. So from that point of view, it’s not always that easy. But for us, it’s worked out well so far.”

Germany face Azerbaijan in Baku in their next qualifier on March 26, with the hosts currently third.

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