Ukraine - Germany

Europe: UEFA Nations League
Ukraine R. Malinovskiy (Pen. 77)
NSK Olimpijs'kyj1-2
Germany M. Ginter (20), L. Goretzka (49)

Löw on criticism:
"We were way down!"

By Peter Vice

Bundestrainer Joachim Löw spoke for four uninterrupted minutes at a post-match press conference on Saturday evening in Kiev.

Regarding criticism of his long tenure in charge of the National Team, Löw's primary defense centered around where the program found itself in November 2018.

Joachim Löw.
Joachim Löw.Photo: Granada, CC-by-SA 4.0

Journalists began to turn up the heat on Bundestrainer Joachim Löw prior to Friday's training session. Löw stood in a largely empty room in Kiev, answering questions posed by reporters operating remotely from Düsseldorf, München, and Hannover. The topic of heavy press criticism eventually cropped up.

"I haven't read anything in the last two days," Löw resolutely affirmed, "I couldn't care less who says what and how they put it. I make my decisions with absolute conviction."

Löw's voice soon rose and sharper delivery conveyed a more combative tone. "That there is criticism I can understand, but that doesn't influence me. I've been around too long. I've lived through too much. Believe me, I can evaluate situations quite well."

Löw's assertion that he's "been around too long" may serve as precisely the critique many German football fans wish to level. The 60-year-old's obstinate refusal to entertain the return of popular veteran players (Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng) he publicly jettisoned after the 2018 World Cup failure remains unpopular.

After fourteen years helming the national team, some openly wonder whether the Bundestrainer has become too intractably convinced of himself. Such judgments were inherent in public comments aimed at Löw this week by the likes of National team legends Lothar Matthäus and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Löw spent significant time on the topic of those remarks during the press conference following Saturday's 2-1 Nations League win against the Ukraine. In a four minute long soliloquy, the coach sought to remind anyone listening where the team found itself in November 2018.

"We were way down," Löw remarked aggressively, "All the way down! Very far down! Way down below! Then this young team, which we deliberately altered won an EM Qualification match against Holland and strung together some good fixtures."

"We know what we're doing," Löw also took care to emphasize,"We have a clear path and a clear objective. We remain persuaded of it."

The man in charge of the country's Nationalmannschaft also defended the team's performance following the long COVID induced break, saying "one cannot expect that things will run smoothly [after so long a layoff]". Regarding some of the specific criticism leveled at his, he insisted that he was "not angry" with Matthäus.

"[such criticism] is normal," Löw noted, "I've been dealing with it for sixteen years [since coming aboard to work with the national team]."

His uninterrupted minute-long monologue concluded with: "I always remain above the fray when it comes to criticism."

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