The Germany women’s national team start their European Championship campaign on 17th July (20:45 CEST), when they face Sweden in their first group match in Breda. Head coach Steffi Jones spoke on German television about her playing philosophy and the upcoming tournament. Here DFB.de summarises the main talking points.
...possibly facing added pressure after the successes of the U21s and the men’s team: Not at all, I’m delighted that we’re successful when it comes to both men’s and women’s football in Germany.
...saying "the European Championships come too soon": Yes, that’s true. I took over in September last year. We haven’t had lots of training sessions. I introduced a new philosophy – to be more aggressive and braver in attack – but it’s not possible to work on and fully get used to those ideas with so few training sessions. But the team is just great and it’s still possible.
...aiming to be European Champions: That’s the target – it’s all or nothing.
...comparing the players to cartoon characters: It should be clear for all to see that the players are enjoying themselves out on the pitch and they should also have fun in training. Before our preparations began, I thought that comparing each player in the squad to a cartoon character would be a bit of fun. There was lots of laughter as I announced what I’d come up with for each of them. Some players said that it was a perfect fit while others were less impressed (laughs).
...communicating with the players: That’s my philosophy. I’m a communicative person. I want my players to understand what the coaching team are planning or why we make changes. The players should be informed and involved. We need to make sure that we work as a unit and you have to communicate to achieve that.
...Almuth Schult and her mistake against Brazil: I already said during the game “put it to bed and carry on” so she didn’t feel any burden. Then, of course, I checked how she was after the game. She’s experienced enough to deal with it. That’s the approach I’d take with every player.
...interaction with Silvia Neid: For the first time, she is now also part of our scouting network. She was at the Algarve Cup and attends coaching meetings. And we talk on the phone. We have lively and positive discussions.
...changing the playing system: I wanted to play more attacking football and have two players up front. We therefore set up in a 4-4-2 diamond formation so we could use short passes to work our way up the pitch and play attractive and attacking football.
...playing with freedom and creativity: That’s very important to me. If I impose too strict a formation or strategy, the team can’t play freely. The players are very creative. If you were to see them in training, you’d see how it’s just incredible and so much fun. Sometimes though you have to split them up and change their combinations during training drills and remind them to play more efficiently.
...their EURO 2017 squad: I can honestly say that I can make two teams who could play from the start out of the 23 players we’re taking. I have a very balanced squad and in comparison to other countries, an unbelievably versatlie squad. I can use different types of players depending on our opponents.
...their EURO 2017 opponents: We have one of the favourites, Sweden, in our group, who we can’t underestimate. The other favourites are Spain, France and England.
...the atmosphere in the Netherlands: I hope that there’ll be a lot of enthusiasm for the tournament. We’re expecting there to be a lot of German fans there. Ticket sales have gone very well. I think that when we see good games – and that they are also broadcast on TV – then levels of interest and excitement will grow from game to game.