FIFA World Cup 2018: Joachim Loew stays on as Germany coach despite Russia debacle
Joachim Loew will be staying on as coach of the German football team in spite of the defending World Cup champions crashing out of the tournament in the group stage.
Berlin: Germany coach Joachim Loew will retain his job despite the World Cup debacle which saw the holders crash out after the group stages, according to reports on Tuesday.
Both Germany's best-selling daily Bild and Sport Bild magazine say the 58-year-old will stay on to rebuild the national team, which finished bottom of their group in Russia. The Germans bowed out after shock defeats to Mexico and South Korea.
It was the first time since 1938 that a Germany side failed to get past the first round at a World Cup finals — a huge dent to Loew's reputation after 12 successful years in charge. The German Football Association (DFB) has yet to confirm the reports, but Loew has a contract that runs until the 2022 World Cup.
Loew returned from Russia considering his future, but the DFB said they would not sack him. He has promised a clearout of the squad and several of the World Cup winners who under-performed so badly in Russia may have played their last game for their country. "It needs far-reaching measures, it needs clear change," Loew said last week when Germany arrived home in disgrace.
Senior players Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller have given Loew their backing, yet could all face the axe after poor displays. There are, however, reports of player disgruntlement with Loew's differential treatment of squad members. Frankfurt-based newspaper FAZ quoted unnamed Germany players who said the squad was deeply divided between senior and younger players in Russia.
There was also resentment to the special status given to captain Manuel Neuer. The goalkeeper played all three group games, ahead of Barcelona star Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, even though Neuer had just returned from eight months sidelined by a foot fracture. That was "a problem for some players" as Loew had said he would only use those who were playing well regularly.
Other complaints included Loew giving priority to established players, the choice of Germany's isolated World Cup base in south-west Moscow and the poor handling of the pre-World Cup scandal involving Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan. Their loyalty to Germany was brought into question on the eve of the World Cup after meeting Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Gundogan presented with a jersey signed "to my president".
Both players were booed by German fans during pre-World Cup friendlies, which overshadowed preparations for the finals. Ozil refused to comment on the controversy during the World Cup while Gundogan gave a single interview in which he said the furore was "a difficult experience".
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