Germany’s Loew dismisses talk of 2006 ‘revenge’
GDANSK, Poland: Coach Joachim Loew has said Germany will give no thought to avenging their 2006 World Cup defeat at the hands of Italy when they face the Azzurri in Thursday’s Euro 2012 semi-final.
Germany are hunting their first trophy since the Euro ’96 title and will need to beat the Italians for the first time at either a World Cup or a European championship in what is their eighth attempt in order to reach Sunday’s final.
The last time the teams met in a competitive match, Germany were knocked out of the 2006 World Cup semi-finals by Italy, but Loew insists there is no talk of revenge for the defeat six years ago in Dortmund.
“There is no such thing as “revenge” in football, there is no way we can make good that defeat from 2006,” said the 52-year-old, who was assistant coach to Jurgen Klinsmann back then.
“We can’t go back in time, forget about that.
“You can’t relive the past and it doesn’t play the slightest role in our preparations.
“Another stat is that Germany has never won against Italy in a major tournament, so what?
“It plays no role for our young players, it is something they read about in the press or books. It doesn’t come up in team talks or over lunch.”
Loew said he has learned more from Italy’s 1-1 draw with Germany in February 2011 when Miroslav Klose’s first-half goal was cancelled out by a late equaliser from Giuseppe Rossi.
Having dropped three of his forwards for Friday’s 4-2 quarter-final win over Greece, Loew admitted he is toying with the idea of more changes to the German line-up for the last four clash.
A mole in the camp means all of Loew’s Euro 2012 selections have appeared in the German media hours ahead of kick-off and while the coach has admitted he is annoyed by the leaks, he could not resist poking fun.
“All my secrets will be divulged in the public domain around 2.20pm on Thursday…,” he said with a smile.
Much has been written about Italy’s 33-year-old play-maker Andrea Pirlo, who ran England ragged in Sunday’s quarter-final before his cheeky chipped penalty helped the Azzurri claim a 4-2 win in the penalty shoot-out.
“(Pirlo) wasn’t just good against England, he excelled in all previous games, perhaps he is enjoying some sort of renaissance,” said Loew.
“Post 2010, I think people thought he was getting on, but he is a genius strategist who has a lot of possession and plays a lot of excellent passes wherever it hurts most.
“It is something we have to nip in the bud, there is no point man-marking him, that would be useless, as he drops very deep at times.
“He is able to lob balls over our defence, so needless to say we will raise Pirlo, and the role he has played, in the team-talk and we will find ways and means to stop him.”