Under-pressure Joachim Loew remains defiant despite defeat to France

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew gestures during the UEFA Nations League football match between France and Germany at the Stade de France, in which his side lost 2-1. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018

Under-pressure Joachim Loew remains defiant despite defeat to France

  • The Germans are bottom of Group A after back-to-back defeats to the Netherlands and France
  • Germany coach praised his young team for a stronger showing in Paris

LONDON: The pressure continued to mount on Joachim Loew this week as Germany suffered another defeat in the UEFA Nations League, this time to world champions France, but the head coach remains defiant.
The Germans are bottom of Group A after back-to-back defeats to the Netherlands and France, and face the ignominy of being relegated to League B for the next instalment of the tournament.
Germany took the lead through a Toni Kroos penalty in the first half, but Antoine Griezmann’s header and penalty saw France complete a second half turnaround.
Tuesday’s game saw a much better performance from Loew’s side after their 3-0 hammering at the hands of the Dutch, and the German praised his young team for a stronger showing in Paris.

“(Yes) I’m disappointed with the result, although I must say the defeat is different to Saturday’s,” he said. “Not because of the result but because of the performance. I’m very pleased with the performance.
“I think we were on an even level with what is probably the best team in the world. But France has a lot of individual quality, and if you’re not careful you’ll get punished straight away.”
After Toni Kroos had put Germany ahead, Loew was left to rue missed chances.
“The negative point is the converting of our chances. We were unable to put the ball in the goal,” he added. “I think we deserved to win because we were the best team but that’s not how things work. We lacked a bit of intelligence. If we’d been able to score a second we could have played in a calmer manner and won the match.”
Indeed, his French counterpart Didier Deschamps acknowledged his side had been outplayed by Germany in the first half.
“We struggled to stop them, they went through us,” he said. “Our positioning wasn’t quite what it should have been.”
But France captain Hugo Lloris was full of praise for his team and their “mental strength” in coming from behind against a quality side like Germany. “When we lift our level, the players’ talents really come to the fore,” he said.
Raphael Varane, who aged 25 has already won a World Cup and four Champions League titles with Real Madrid, was pleased France’s mental maturity shown on their run to World Cup glory was on display against the Germans.

“We managed to win the World Cup thanks to our mental qualities, despite some difficult moments. We have to keep these values, and not allow panic to set in. We have confidence in ourselves, and we know what we’re capable of.”
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann admitted the first half against Germany was much like how the French played against Iceland.
“We weren’t ourselves, either in the one-on-ones or in terms of the efforts we made for each other. The coach and the players talked at half-time and in the second half we saw the team that won the World Cup.”


Hazard stunner gives revived Real Madrid win over Huesca

Updated 01 November 2020

Hazard stunner gives revived Real Madrid win over Huesca

  • Belgian forward ends goal drought as he thrills fans with brilliant first-half strike

MADRID: Eden Hazard scored his first goal for Real Madrid in over a year and his team appeared to turn a corner as they beat newly promoted Huesca 4-1 in La Liga on Saturday.
Hazard has had a terrible time with injuries since joining Madrid for €100 million ($113 million) from Chelsea in 2019 but the Belgian will hope his stunning strike from distance at the Alfredo di Stefano can kick-start his career in Spain.

Karim Benzema and Fede Valverde made the win secure before Huesca scored through David Ferreiro, only for Benzema to add his second and Madrid’s fourth in injury-time.

Zinedine Zidane’s side jump above Real Sociedad to the top of the table to cap an encouraging week, which began with a Clasico win over Barcelona at Camp Nou and finishes with them moving nine points clear of the Catalans, who were playing away at Alaves on Saturday.

In between, Madrid came too close for comfort to another damaging defeat in the Champions League but two late goals salvaged a draw at Borussia Monchengladbach that in the end felt like a win.

Huesca, who are yet to win this season, might feel the scoreline was harsh after they squandered early chances.

Madrid will hope the dip that put Zidane under pressure earlier this month is over.

Zidane will have been particularly delighted with Hazard, whose goal was his first for Madrid since he scored against Granada in October last year, and his second overall in La Liga.

Ankle surgery kept Hazard out for the majority of last season and he was not fit for the start of this one, with Madrid only describing his latest setback as a “muscle injury.”

But he made his first appearance off the bench in the Champions League in midweek and against Huesca marked his first start with a brilliant goal in the first half.

Until then, Huesca had been the better team but Hazard’s strike turned the contest in the 40th minute, when he received the ball on the half-turn and swerved a superb shot into the corner from 30 yards out.

Benzema made it two, chesting down Lucas Vazquez’s cross at the back post and driving in, before Valverde struck a sweet half-volley into the corner.

Ferreiro gave Huesca brief hope with 16 minutes left but Madrid were never overly troubled and Benzema rounded off the win in injury-time, converting a smart header back from Rodrygo.