Germany boss claims last eight clash against Greece is 'just another game'
Joachim Loew refused to talk finance but did admit his Germany side won’t be underestimating Greece when the pair play in what’s sure to be a fiery quarter-final on Friday.
The clash takes place amid a political backdrop, which has pitted the two countries on opposite sides of an epoch-defining debate. The game has been billed as a clash of the eurozone, with the calamitous currency’s problem child up against its rich northern paymaster.
However, Loew, unlike his country’s politicians, praised the Greeks and promised German fans Bastian Schweinsteiger and Co won’t be taking them lightly in Gdansk.
“The Greeks will be a great challenge for us,” the coach said. “It will be like biting on a rock!”
“I have never played a game against Greece before and no one thought they’d make it this far in the competition. Greece are the masters of efficiency. In this competition they’ve had maybe three or four chances and they have scored three goals.
“They can also defend really well and throw themselves into every challenge. They are very hard men. We know they will try to take the tempo out of the game, as Denmark did against us the other night.”
Greece, who shocked the tournament by beating Russia in their last Group A game to book their place in the quarters, go into the match without their talisman Giorgos Karagounis.
The skipper is suspended and for Loew that’s good news.
“He is the connection between the defence and the players in attack and for Greece his absence is painful,” he added.
While the German boss was happy to talk about classy Karagounis, he kept his mouth shut about the political situation between the two nations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a deeply unpopular figure in Greece for the tough austerity principles she has imposed on the country mired in tons of debt.
And Loew said: “Angela Merkel and us, we have a good relationship and an agreement that she does not advise me on the lineups and I do not advise her on political statements.
“It is just a normal quarter-final game against Greece and nothing else.” Loew’s squad trained yesterday without Mesut Ozil, Lars Bender and Schweinsteiger, all nursing minor knocks. However, all are expected to be fine for Friday.