By Oliver Trust BERLIN Germany (Xinhua)
-- World Champions Germany still faces
a battle to reach the last 16. They have to overcome South Korea
in their last Group F game in Kazan this Wednesday. Confidence
is back after two rising stars are giving head coach Joachim
Loew reason to be optimistic.
The speed and
passion of Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Marco Reus (Borussia
Dortmund) have enhanced the titleholder’s chances of playing a
leading role at the tournament in Russia, after the mood in
Germany hit rock bottom following the defeat in the team’s
curtain-raiser against Mexico.
Both strikers seem
to be able to provide what the Germans lacked in their opening
game. The speed, desire and passion of the World Cup newcomers
have made them irreplaceable in a squad full of experienced
players whose insecurity has made the team lose its balance.
in Germany has increased among supporters. The country’s media
see Reus and Werner as the new dream team.
Fans are not only
talking about certain victory over South Korea but don’t seem to
fear a challenging opponent like Brazil in the next round,
should Germany come second in the group.
Werner and Reus not
only increase the options for Loew up front as a result of their
versatility but are also improving the team spirit.
and 29-year-old Reus are both playing their first World Cup and
are excited by the whole experience. Werder had tears in his
eyes after the Germans scored the winning goal against Sweden
after a nail-biter.
“We’ll do everything
to prevent the team from going the same way as predecessors
France, Italy and Spain four years after their World Cup
triumphs,” Reus commented.
The duo might be new
on the World Cup stage but still stand for experience and
quality. Werner won the 2017 Confed Cup, played in the Champions
League with his club and has appeared in 158 Bundesliga games
despite his young age. Reus missed out on participating at the
last major tournaments due to injury but was a regular for his
club in the Champions League and has played 233 first division
While Loew is still
unsure over his midfield and defense but the places for Werner
and Reus are already booked. Bayern Munich defender Jerome
Boateng is banned for the Korea clash after being red-carded in
the Sweden game and will be replaced by Niklas Suele (Bayern
Munich) or Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea).
reports, Loew is considering a return for Mesut Oezil (Arsenal)
and Sami Khedira (Juventus) for a midfield job due to Sebastian
Rudy (Bayern) being sidelined with a broken nose. Leon Goretzka
(Schalke 04) is an additional option. Thomas Mueller could be
replaced by Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen) but it is rather
unlikely despite Bavarian’s poor performances.
Mueller could play
behind spearhead Werner and Brandt could operate down the right
While Loew praises
Reus’ and Werner’s skills, their teammates admitted that they
gave them a “good feeling” (Mats Hummels). “Against Sweden, we
knew Timo and Marco could get past the opposing defenders,”
Reus and Werner
stand for a rejuvenated 2014 World Champions team and seem to
have opened the doors for Loew to push the German forwards.
Reus called the 2018
World Cup a highlight in life and one “you can’t buy for all the
money in the world”. Werner said he is thrilled playing next to
a “world class footballer” like Reus. “We get along well and not
only on the pitch,” Werner said.
Germany and Brazil
on early World Cup collision course
By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- Wednesday’s final matches in Group
E and Group F of the 2018 World Cup finals hold the prospect of
a mouth-watering clash in the last 16 that neither of the two
sides likely to make it through will want at this stage of the
If results go as
expected, we could see Brazil finish as leaders of Group E and
Germany finish second in Group F. That would set up a last 16
tie between the two in Samara on July 1.
Group F is led by
Mexico with six points, followed by Germany and Sweden on three
points each, while South Korea have no points after two defeats.
In theory all four sides can still qualify for the next round
and all four could fail to make it through. Mexico are in the
best position to qualify and can assure their progress with a
draw against Sweden, who suffered last-minute heartbreak when
German midfielder Toni Kroos scored an injury time free kick on
That win means the
Germans still depend on themselves to make it into the last 16.
The defending champions will qualify if they beat South Korea by
a bigger margin than the Swedes manage if they can beat Mexico.
However, if the Swedes beat Mexico 2-0 and Germany also win,
then Mexico could still crash out of the competition on goal
difference. A 1-0 victory for the Swedes could even see
qualification decided on fair play, a criteria where the
Mexicans currently have a slight advantage. South Korea could
still qualify if they inflict a heavy defeat on Germany and
Mexico beat the Swedes.
Group E is also in
the balance with Brazil on four points leading Switzerland on
goal difference. Serbia is third with three points. The Serbs
face Brazil, who would qualify with a draw, but who would go out
of the tournament if Serbia beat them and Switzerland avoid
losing to Costa Rica.
A win for Brazil
meanwhile would see them finish top of the group as long as they
win by a bigger margin than the Swiss would manage if they beat
the Costa Ricans.
Although Brazil will
no doubt want to avenge that painful 7-1 defeat to Germany from
four years ago, neither side will want to face the other so
early in the tournament.
Coach says Germany need to
“master destiny” in match against South Korea
KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) --
Germany coach Joachim Loew said on Tuesday that
his team will have to find a way to counter South Korea and
achieve two clear goals in order to master their destiny and
secure a place in the World Cup round of 16.
Germany will play
South Korea in their last group match on Wednesday while Mexico
takes on Sweden. Currently, Mexico are leading Group F with two
wins, while Sweden and Germany are both struggling with one win
and one loss, and South Korea are at the bottom.
Each with one match
to go, all of the four teams have a theoretical chance to reach
the knockout stage but also are not without the possibility to
“I don’t really know
what chances South Korea have of winning this match and I don’t
know ours either,” Loew said.
“But we have to be
clear about what we need to achieve. We have to score two clear
goals over our opponents and that will see us through. We have
to be masters of our own destiny tomorrow,” the coach said.
Loew said that
different from Sweden which stood rather deep, the South Koreans
usually try to be involved with the ball from the midfield and
they have two or three players who are very quick and can launch
fast attacks there and “it would be our task to contain that.”
“We did make
mistakes in the midfield (in the previous matches) after we lost
the ball, and when that happened, the opponents often had
players that could use the space that opened up. We have to make
sure that we don’t lose the ball that easily any more,
especially in the midfield,” he said.
One day before the
decisive match, Loew said that he had not yet made up his mind
about the starting lineup but with a couple of players injured
or suspended, he had only 18 players to choose from.
He also revealed
that Bayern Munich’s Sebastian Rudy will not play in the
decisive match against South Korea on Wednesday after breaking
his nose in previous match.
“His nose was broken
in several places and he couldn’t play even with a mask. But
Mats Hummels is able to play tomorrow. He’s trained for the last
two days,” said Loew.
Thomas Mueller, who has not been in top form in the previous two
games would stay, according to Loew.
“After the Mexico
match we had a long chat...He’s very open to comments and highly
self-critical. Despite one or two negative matches, he has a
positive outlook and is a very important player for us,” said
Coach says S. Korea to try
best despite unlikely chance to win
KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) --
South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong said Tuesday that
his team will do their utmost in their last group match against
Germany though there was just a “one percent chance to win.”
stronger than us, and it’s not going to be an easy match. But
the ball is round. I believe there is still opportunity for us,
and we are going to do our utmost to win tomorrow,” said the
coach at a pre-match press conference in Kazan.
With two losses,
South Korea are now at the bottom of Group F, but they still
have a theoretical chance to reach the knockout stage if they
Shin said that the
situation in Group F has not gone as he anticipated, as he
originally predicted that Germany would have gone to the third
match with two wins.
Now with just one
win and one loss, the defending champions are still struggling
to reach the round of 16, and would surely go all out against
South Korea to get their three points, according to Shin.
What’s worse for
South Korea is that they will have to play without captain Ki
Sung-yueng, who suffered a left calf injury during the match
Regarding the new
captain, Shin said that the decision has not been made yet. “We
will see who is the most psychologically stable and can
sacrifice for the team, and that person will wear the captain’s
armband,” said Shin.
Shin said South
Korea have been analyzing Germany since they were drawn into the
The Asian side came
to the World Cup after losing almost half of the key players to
injury, and Shin admitted that even if that didn’t happen and
South Korea play with full strength, Germany would still be a
hard opponent to beat.
“However, we still
have a one-percent chance (to win) and we’re not giving up our
hope. We’ll try out best to find opportunities and play a
wonderful World Cup,” Shin said.
South Korea will
play Germany in their last group match on Wednesday while Mexico
take on Sweden. Currently, Mexico are leading Group F with two
wins, while Sweden and Germany are both struggling with one win
and one loss.