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March 26, 2019

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Dutch win eases Loew woes

Germany coach Joachim Loew was lavished with praise yesterday after his team snatched a late win over the Netherlands in its opening Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday.

Loew has been under enormous pressure since Germany crashed out of the World Cup and suffered relegation in the Nations League last year.

In recent weeks, he has faced growing criticism for his decision to drop veteran stars Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng from the national team.

Yet after Sunday’s dramatic victory in Amsterdam, the 59-year-old appears to have got the German media back onside.

“Loew delivered in the first truly important game since the World Cup, and showed up everyone who said he is no longer the right man for the job,” wrote Bild yesterday.

“A victory for the coach!” read the headline in Kicker magazine.

“Loew has managed to unite this young team behind him,” the magazine wrote.

The praise marks a decisive change in tone from the recent criticism. Just last week, Die Zeit newspaper summarized the mood around the Germany team with the headline “Loew versus everyone else.”

On Sunday evening, the Germany coach played down the idea that he had stuck it to his critics with victory over the Netherlands. “I don’t see the win as an act of vindication,” he said. “When my team play as well as they did, then I am positive, regardless of what is going on off the field.”

Germany’s next game is in Belarus on June 8 where the introduction of more young talent is expected.

Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman walked away with mixed feelings after his young team conceded a 90th-minute winner to Germany, losing 2-3.

After the Dutch had fought back from a two-goal halftime deficit, Koeman felt they could go on and win the game.

“I am proud of the way we played in the second half. We were 2-0 down and in that situation you cannot sit back,” the Netherlands coach said.

“We played really well to come back into the game but then, it would have been fairer if we had taken a point.”

Koeman said it was difficult to face Germany in any match.

Koeman’s team next plays in June’s Nations League finals in Portugal where it meets England in the semifinals.

The Dutch began the Euro 2020 qualifying with a convincing 4-0 home win over Belarus and resume the campaign on September 6, in Germany.


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