Germany squad out to stamp authority
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Players of the German national football team, midfielders Mesut Özil (L) and Thomas Mueller attend a press conference in Barsinghausen, northern Germany. AFP photoGermany will look to put its Euro 2012 disappointment behind when the team starts its World Cup qualifying campaign against minnow Faroe Islands in Hanover tonight.
Joachim Löw’s side had its dreams of winning the European Championship title dashed when it lost to Italy in the semifinal in Warsaw and, with the coach’s contract due to expire after Brazil 2014, this could be his last chance for a major title.
Ranked 154th in the world according to FIFA’s rankings -- Germany is second -- the Faroe Islands is bidding for a monumental upset while the Germans want a dominant start to take control of Group C.
Löw’s side faces Austria in Vienna next Tuesday in its second qualifier and, with Sweden and the Republic of Ireland to come next month, Löw wants to see proof of his side’s hunger for success.
“Basically, I feel that the side still has a hunger for success after the disappointment of the European Championship,” said Löw, whose team finished its Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a perfect 10 wins. “We are facing a new round of qualification matches. The last time we passed with flying colours, but I think it will be harder this time.
“Sweden, Ireland and Austria will demand something from us and clear victories are expected against the Faroe Islands or Kazakhstan.
“We want to win both our opening games to give us a good basis.”
The Faroe Islands, an archipelago situated between Iceland and Norway, lost 2-0 to Iceland last month and has never qualified for either a World Cup or European Championships.
However, it only lost 1-0 to Italy at home last September and managed a 2-0 win over Estonia in June 2011 in a Euro 2012 qualifier.
The Faroes have lost both of their previous games to Germany, but a narrow 2-1 defeat in Hanover in 2002 and a 2-0 reverse in Torshavn in 2003 should give the guests some confidence.
Their top scorer and captain Frooi Benjaminsen is a 34-year-old veteran who made his debut back in 1999 while goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen has spent time with Manchester City, Tranmere Rovers and Wrexham.
Since taking charge in 2006, Löw has added an attacking prowess to the Germans’ reputation for efficient defending and the 52-year-old will want a big win over the minnows.