Despite opening their EURO campaign with a narrow 1-0 defeat to France, Germany head coach Joachim Löw seemed mostly pleased with his side’s performance. In an interview, the 61-year-old spoke about areas of improvement within his team.
Question: What’s your analysis of the 1-0 defeat against France?
Joachim Löw: It was a brutally intensive, exciting and very strong game from both sides. Neither side was willing to give each other anything. We threw everything into it and did well. We weren’t able to cut off every counter-attack, but we did well enough.
Question: In the end, it was an own goal from Mats Hummels that gave France the win…
Löw: You can’t blame Mats for that, it was just bad luck. Losing through an own goal is disappointing but we were holding our own. The team showed spirit and won many challenges. The only downside was that we didn’t score a goal and that we weren’t able to break through. We need to work on that. In terms of the players’ effort, I’m feeling positive going into the next two games.
Question: Set pieces were something you worked on during preparations for the tournament. Was the overall tally a disappointment?
Löw: One thing we will need to do over the next two, three days will be to turn it up a notch again. On the one hand, France are a world-class side in defence and over the last few years they have been one of the best sides in the world in terms of defending set pieces. They were always playing very deep. There were perhaps some corners that we either under or over hit. We need to make sure that we improve in this area, as we will need to score against Portugal.
Question: Your subs didn’t really have an impact. Why?
Löw: You could say that the subs came on and didn’t have the impact we expected. But, France are a strong side and they played deep after taking the lead which means that there’s less space. It wasn’t easy to penetrate into the final third.
Question: Was the lack of attacking strength due to the formation? Are we missing an extra attacker?
Löw: Instead of four centre-backs, we had three, while Robin Gosens and Joshua Kimmich were in more attacking roles on the wings. They played some good crosses, but sometimes they were too high. We had wanted to play quick, low crosses because France are good at winning aerial duels. Both full-backs covered a lot of ground, which was good. We had enough attacking power on the pitch, but we need to improve our runs and positioning up front.
Question: Leon Goretzka didn’t make the squad. Will he be ready to face Portugal?
Löw: He said that he feels like he needs another two, three training sessions in order to feel ready to help the team. He will be a good option to have during the course of the game.
Question: What gives you reason to be optimistic heading into the game against the defending champions?
Löw: We lost and are all disappointed but it’s not the end of the world. We still have two games left to turn things around.