Germany head coach Joachim Low insists Brazil will be contenders for the 2018 World Cup in Russia despite the humiliation his team inflicted upon them in 2014.
Low’s men are competing in the Confederations Cup in Russia, where they are set to defend their title as world champions next year.
Mario Gotze’s extra-time strike sealed a 1-0 win over Argentina in the 2014 final, but the enduring image of the tournament in Brazil was their 7-1 evisceration of the hosts in the semi-final.
Brazil have subsequently dispensed with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s successor Dunga, but became the first team to reach Russia 2018 thanks to a dominant performance in the ongoing CONMEBOL qualifiers.
Ahead of facing Cameroon in Sochi, Low said he expects Brazil’s scars to have long since healed if a re-match ends up on the agenda.
“I believe that Brazil has recovered from that experience and result in the semi-final. They have changed a bit as well,” he said.
“The results after the World Cup 2014 were predominantly very positive. They won many matches and they have consolidated that strength.
They are always among the favourites for a tournament because they have excellent players, players who are present in all the leagues of the world.
“There is a lot of talent there and Brazil is always a favourite for a World Cup.”
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 24, 2017
Depending on results in the final round of group matches at the Confederations Cup, Germany could remain in Sochi to face Russia in the semi-finals and Low hopes the host nation can pull through against Mexico.
“I would wish for the host Russia to win, I would really congratulate them on that,” he said. “I know what it means to be the host nation, to make it through to the semi-finals of a Confederations Cup.
“That adds to the general mood and atmosphere in the country and would raise hopes for the World Cup next year.
“Therefore, I would hope for Russia to make it to the semi-finals and to contest a semi-final against the host country is very attractive.”
Of course, Low has very good reason for thinking that.
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