x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Loew's tour de force

Germany's two-stop tour of Asia was "worth the time and effort", according to the coach.

Germany's coach Joachim Loew signs autographs during training ahead of Tuesday's 7-2 friendly victory over the UAE in Dubai.
Germany's coach Joachim Loew signs autographs during training ahead of Tuesday's 7-2 friendly victory over the UAE in Dubai.

DUBAI // Germany's two-stop tour of Asia was "worth the time and effort", according to coach Joachim Loew. The trip, however, will have no consequence on the team's preparation for the 2010 World Cup. The three-time world champions were held to a 1-1 draw by China in Shanghai, but they bounced back with a crushing 7-2 defeat of UAE in Dubai on Tuesday night.

"I knew that the performance against China was a bit underwhelming," said Loew. "China was just marred by slow play, jet lag and many other factors. "But here, you could tell from kick-off that the players were hungry for goals and creating chances. We played at a higher tempo." While Loew was obviously pleased with the win over UAE, the benefits from the tour went beyond mere results. "We knew up front that the tour, results apart, would have a positive impact," said Loew.

"Having the team together for a few days and having the opportunity to talk to players on a personal basis works wonder on team morale and chemistry, and also the integration of new players. "So, while the trip obviously had a sport-political dimension, from a purely sporting point of view, it was equally important. "We grew as a team these last few days. The opponent showed some limitations, but everybody gained valuable experiences and I think the team enjoyed the trip as well."

The biggest positives to come out from the game against UAE were striker Mario Gomez, who broke a 15-game drought to score four, and the young goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. "Neuer did well guarding our goal, as a matter of fact he was outstanding," added Loew. "Secondly, Gomez ended his dry spell. I'm elated about both performances. "We also had some experienced players missing, so it was all the more important that players like Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Hitzlsperger assumed the role of leaders.

"It was good to see them shoulder a greater responsibility. So, overall I believe this tour was worth the time and effort." As he counted the positives, Loew insisted the tour was not part of the bigger plan for next year's World Cup in South Africa. He said: "Politically speaking, I think it was vital for us to show our presence in this part of the world, not just take the money but also to take the team where the fans live.

"For us coaches, me and the backroom staff, we also learned some important lessons, both negative and positive. "In the summer we will come together and draw up plans for the way ahead, looking at the 2010 World Cup. "But while this trip will surely add to the players' experience, being in a group and travelling to far away countries, it does not have any direct consequences on our preparation for the 2010 World Cup.

"There's a lot to do before the World Cup. We'll sit together in June and July to lay some groundwork. We will reduce the roster. The players can expect clear-cut guidelines." arizvi@thenational.ae