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(World Cup) Low says Germany aware of S. Korea's counter attacks

All Headlines 02:33 June 27, 2018

By Joo Kyung-don

KAZAN, Russia, June 26 (Yonhap) -- Germany football coach Joachim Low said Tuesday his side will try not to lose the ball in the midfield, so that they can deny South Korea's fast break opportunities in the teams' final group stage match at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Germany will play South Korea in their last Group F match at Kazan Arena in Kazan, some 800 kilometers east of Moscow, on Wednesday. South Korea already hinted that they'll use a counter-attack strategy with players like Son Heung-min against the defending champions.

"South Korea don't only have Son, but they also have other players who are able to execute fast break chances," Low said at a press conference at Kazan Arena. "South Korea have two or three players who can quickly counter attack, so that will be our test."

Germany national football team head coach Joachim Low speaks at a press conference at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, on June 26, 2018, one day ahead of 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F match between South Korea and Germany. (Yonhap)

Low said his team will try not to make mistakes in the midfield and give up the ball to the opponents.

"If we lose the ball, the opponents can go deep and open space," he said. "I hope we don't lose the ball like we did in previous matches."

Low's side has been struggling to live up the reputation as the world's No. 1 team. Germany dropped their Group F opener 1-0 to Mexico and barely edged out Sweden 2-1, thanks to Toni Kroos' goal in the 95th minute.

Germany are currently tied with Sweden at one win and one loss, but are in second place thanks to the fair play rule since they have fewer yellow cards than Sweden.

Germany will need to beat South Korea to reach the knockout stage and keep their title defense alive. They can also win Group F depending on the result between Mexico and Sweden on Wednesday. Mexico are currently leaders in the group with two wins, but have yet to secure a knockout stage berth.

South Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong previously said his side will also go for the win despite having a "one percent chance." Low said he doesn't think about their chances, but he will focus on their game strategy.

"We have to look at situations of the group and we'll be consistently informed about the situations and score of the match between Sweden and Mexico," he said. "We have to score two goals more than the opponents and that will be a clear path to the round of 16. We'll execute our tactics and we would like to master our own destiny."

Low said those who didn't play in their last match against Sweden could be options for South Korea. He mentioned that 18 players will be available, including Mats Hummels, who has reportedly recovered from his neck injury.

But Low said Sebastian Rudy, who has a broken nose, will not play. Germany have already lost center back Jerome Boateng after he was sent off against Sweden.

"We have to look at training, conditions of the players, what the player can contribute to this team, position of the player and others," he said. "It's a different situation from the Sweden match. There are several criteria that we have to consider for the lineup."

Low, who has been leading Germany since 2006, said weather can be a factor on Wednesday. With the temperature reaching above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), Kazan was hit by rain squalls Tuesday afternoon and the team's official training at Kazan Arena was cancelled to help protect the pitch.

"I think physical stamina is very important as the weather forecast says it can reach 30 degrees Celsius," he said. "But I think we don't have any more trouble facing the heat than South Korea."


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