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Lowe misses chance to join German greats

Joachim Loew missed out on the chance to add his name to the trio of Germany coaches who have won a European title when his side lost 1-0 to Spain in Sunday's Euro 2008 final.

The 48-year-old has earned plenty of praise from the German media at Euro 2008 having inspired an average Germany side to reach the Vienna final after just two years in charge having been predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant.

He had aimed to follow in the path of Bertie Vogts who steered Germany to the Euro 1996 title after current German team manager Oliver Bierhoff won the tournament with a golden goal against the Czech Republic at Wembley.

As West Germany, the Mannschaft coached by Helmut Schoen claimed the Henri Delaunay trophy for the first time by defeating the USSR 3-0 in Brussels in 1972 with legendary hot-shot Gerd Muller grabbing two goals.

The West Germans bounced back from the disappointment of losing the 1976 European Championship final at the hands of Czechoslovakia with a 2-1 final triumph in Rome as Jupp Derwall coached his side to the title in 1980.

This was the first time Loew had met Spanish opposition as a coach or player in official competition.

He could only watch as Spain's Fernando Torres scored the winner which gave his side a sixth win in the 20 games between the two sides with Germany still leading the series with eight victories.

But Loew really showed his tactical nous in the 3-2 quarter-final defeat of Portugal when he abandoned the trusted 4-4-2 formation for a potent 4-5-1 system which worked with devastating effect.

Having signed a two-year contract extension last autumn, Loew will take Germany to the 2012 World Cup finals in South Africa.

His biggest challenge will now be to groom replacements for ageing midfielders Torsten Frings, Michael Ballack and Bernd Schneider, who missed the Euro 2008 finals with a back injury.

However, for the moment Loew was content to praise his present bunch of warriors.

“I have to compliment the team for what they have achieved over the past few weeks,” said the 48-year-old.

“It has been fantastic. The players are obviously disappointed, but they have every reason to hold their heads up high.”

He too could exit the tournament with his head held high.

Sun 29 June, 2008
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