Spain’s football in general and national team in particular are something Joachim Loew loves to talk about for hours. The 57-year old German head coach admires the country’s junior and youth coaching system, its tactical versatility and passing style.
Ahead of the Germany’s 2017 Confed Cup curtain raiser against Australia on Monday, things have changed as Loew for a special reason is now talking about Spain as an example not to be followed.
After winning the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship, Spain then failed to renew its successful team and became too complacent, said Loew, who not only won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but was able to watch Spain’s disastrous performance at first hand.
Going into the tournament in South America as the world champions, the Iberians were eliminated in as early as the group stage.
Not wanting to make the same mistakes, Loew decided to introduce youngsters to his squad and re-motivate his 2014 winners so that they are ready for the upcoming challenge. For the German coach, the 2018 World Cup in Russia is the big target and one that requires unusual measures like using the 2017 Confed Cup to test newcomers to the international stage.
Despite criticism for leaving out almost all his key players in Brazil, Loew decided to use the warm-up tournament to blood many youngsters. The team managing director Oliver Bierhoff called it a life insurance policy to add competition within the successful team.
As for the established players, the coach’s work is limited to administration, making minor adjustments and continuing the feel-good factor within the team says Bierhoff. The concept to develop new rivals for the key players not only motivates the team itself but the coach as well.
After ten months of mainly administrative work, Loew’s ambitions come back to life Bierhoff said as he has to coach and guide an inexperienced team through an international tournament. Germany is taking the Confed Cup seriously said Bierhoff when talking to the press after arriving in Russia. The B-team represents the current world champion is looking to win the tournament he emphasized.
Loew is not wasting any chances to talk about his plan to give talented youngsters the opportunity to gain international experience. His aim is to help at least five players improve so that they can make an impact at the 2018 World Cup.
The Confed Cup will provide many answers as to who is able the handle the stress and setbacks Bierhoff added.
Loew is meanwhile convinced that playing the 2017 Confed Cup with a young and inexperienced team is far from a risk. He called it an opportunity for youngsters to convince him and their club coaches of their true value.
The German coach called it his obligation to integrate the country’s top talent and at the same time give his stars a chance to recover. Germany’s football does not only stand for 20 world champions but for all the many talents that have made their way to the Bundesliga Bierhoff insisted.
As a result of having to play so many games, the injury risk for his stars is increasing Loew said. He is sure the fans around the globe want to see the German stars attending a World Cup rather than a Confed Cup. In Loew’s opinion, football history has provided several examples of country’s that failed to rebuild and re-motivate successful teams to keep them competitive over a longer period of time.
The outcome of the Confed Cup tournament for Loew is not as important as the development of his youngsters. Loew called the 2017 a stress-test for the German youngsters who, after Australia, will face Chile and Cameroon in their group.
Loew said Germany needs to be fully concentrated for their opening match against Australia as the first game is a key to a successful tournament. While his youngsters drew 1-1 in a friendly against Denmark (1-1) beat San Marino 7-0 in a World Cup qualifier, the head coach expects them to be more intense in their three group games. Many of his players will experience new tactics, styles and challenges Loew said.
That experience the 57.year old insisted is vital if they are to retain the World Cup title in 2018. To win the World Cup is the reason that makes us act like that Loew added.