Football - Loew confident in German players

Joachim Loew is confident there is more to come from his Germany team after seeing them march into the World Cup.

PA Sport
Football - Loew confident in German players
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Joachim Low, left, was pleased with his players

A 3-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland in Cologne ensured that the Germans will finish top of Group C with a game to spare, and they head for Sweden on Tuesday already looking ahead to their adventure next summer.

Asked if his squad has the potential to be the best German side ever, Low said: "I look at previous campaigns, especially during Euro 2012. The team is more solid, more stable and more compact in defence.

"I used this campaign to make my team more stable. It hinges around the opponent you play, they will have a major role in making games attractive or nice to watch for the spectators.

"Of course we do have some things to tackle. Defensively, there is room for improvement. But the matches against Austria and today really came close to perfection."

For all the home side dominated possession and were repeatedly thwarted by a stubborn display by Ireland keeper David Forde, they did not kill the game off until injury time.

Sami Khedira had given them a 12th-minute lead with a deflected shot and Andre Schurrle doubled the advantage 13 minutes after the restart, but not before Ciaran Clark had hit the bar at the other end and Anthony Stokes gone perilously close to an equaliser.

Mesut Ozil eventually wrapped things up in the 92nd minute to send his side to Sweden with a score to settle.

Germany led the Swedes 4-0 at home in October last year, but only ended up with a point after Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired a remarkable fightback.

Low said: "Four-four after being 4-0 up, you will not be the media darling for that weekend.

"We had to take the flak for conceding four in a row, and there's no need to remind the team.

"We have played to our potential in the last two games and we have one more left.

"We have a score to settle with the Swedes, but all in the best professional manner." Interim Republic boss Noel King was delighted with the efforts of his players, and reacted furiously to criticism from television pundit Eamonn Dunphy.

He said: "Real football people know what went on tonight. We got to the 89th minute and it was 2-0.

"We had chances to go 2-1 and despite not having the lion's share of possession, to come away from the best team in the world in this environment and create five or six chances, that was a testament to their passion and courage.

"Against a top team in the world, we created chances. I'm delighted with our boys - I'm just sorry we didn't score. I thought we deserved a goal."

Ireland did indeed have chances and might have got themselves back into the game had lone striker Stokes, whose loose pass led to the opening goal, not miskicked when attempting to convert the rebound from Clark's header as it came back off the woodwork.

The Celtic frontman had three more promising opportunities after the break.

King said: "He gave the ball away for the goal, but he worked his socks off. He was very creative and on another day, he could have got a hat-trick.

"But that's the life of a striker. If they score, they are a hero; if they don't, they are mugs."

Stokes admitted he had passed up several chances to get his name on he scoresheet, but insisted he would not dwell on his misses.

Asked about his chance from Clark's effort, he said: "I probably got ahead of the ball. I didn't think it was going to come that far off the bar, but I expected to do a little bit better.

"It was one of those nights. I'll be annoyed for half an hour, and then I'll let it go."

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