Joachim Low to stay as Germany's head coach despite World Cup debacle

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Germany coach Joachim Low insists he will make a full analysis of their premature World Cup exit but is already looking to the future after being told his job is safe.

Defeat to South Korea in the group stage produced the country’s earliest departure from the tournament in 80 years and put Low’s future in doubt despite him only signing a contract extension to 2022 in May.

At a meeting with Germany Football Association officials, the 58-year-old said he still wanted to continue and he received the full support from his bosses.

“I am very grateful for the confidence that the DFB continues to place in me, and despite the justified criticism of our departure, I also feel generally support and encouragement,” he told dfb.de.

“My disappointment is still huge but now I want to continue the whole set-up with the same motivation.

“I will analyse together with my team, have discussions and start again.

“All this takes time but it will all happen in time for the start of the new international season in September.”

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National team director Oliver Bierhoff is delighted that Low will continue in the role but admitted there was likely to be some restructuring as a result of their surprise elimination.

“I am very pleased that Jogi Low is at the helm of our national team,” he said.

“After 14 years of successful work, we now have to rebuild and we will now be thinking about it and about further structural changes.”

Germany captain Manuel Neuer offered his full support to Low, saying: “I am pleased that with Jogi Low we can continue on our long successful path and I have the confidence that together we will regain our strength.”

At his meeting Low was told he retains the backing of officials and they saw no reason for a knee-jerk reaction.

However, he and Bierhoff will be required to conduct a thorough in-depth review into their campaign in Russia.

“We have had a very open and trusting exchange in which we have addressed many points, and we are all convinced that with Jogi Low we have a national coach who will analyse very carefully and take the right steps,” said president Reinhard Grindel.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Gareth Southgate's man-management skills come to the fore as England win penalty shootout at World Cup

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It was a case of sweet redemption for Gareth Southgate.

England laid long-standing ghosts to rest by reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup via a penalty shootout.

Gareth Southgate’s men took a second-half lead – from the spot, as it were – but succumbed to an injury-time equaliser against Colombia, and after both sides held fort during extra time, the Three Lions were facing a dreaded penalty shootout.

The lottery of spot-kicks has never been kind to England, but they beat Colombia 4-3.

Here’s a closer look at Southgate’s performance on the night.

KEY STATS

Goals – 1

Shots – 16

Possession – 52%

Pass accuracy – 80%

Dribbles – 6

30-SECOND REPORT

Southgate stuck to his guns tactically – not that anyone expected otherwise – and remained committed to attacking football throughout, even though England still struggled to create chances from open play.

His man management is paying dividends, as this game showed how much the confidence is flowing through this England side – not least with their star striker. Harry Kane always seems to hold his nerve from the penalty spot.

Getting everyone else to do the same may end up being Southgate’s greatest achievement.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Attacking substitutions

Whether thinking ahead to penalties or simply trying to maintain as much of an attacking threat as possible, Southgate stayed bold with his substitutions. Instead of going conservative and bringing on a defender for Raheem Sterling with two minutes left in normal time, he made a like-for-like substitution with Jamie Vardy.

And when Kyle Walker went off injured, it was Marcus Rashford who replaced him. Vardy helped England control the second half of extra-time and Rashford converted a penalty.

VERDICT

Southgate’s contribution to this game was more in terms of rallying the troops, getting them to focus again after they’d been so close to securing the win in normal time only to be sucker-punched by an injury-time equaliser and then keeping nerves calm when his players were entering a dreaded penalty shootout.

His management allowed some redemption for his infamous penalty miss from Euro 96 – he’ll go down as manager of the first England side to win a World Cup penalty shootout.

RATING – 8/10

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England can count on Harry Kane as quarter-finals await after dramatic penalty shootout win

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England fans at the Otkritie Arena would’ve been rubbing their eyes in disbelief while others adjusted their television sets when Eric Dier’s penalty found the back at the net.

At the fourth time of asking, England finally won a World Cup penalty shootout to book their place in the quarter-finals in Russia with Colombia missing out.

Harry Kane opened the scoring in the 57th minute when he converted a penalty having been felled in the box by Carlos Sanchez during a corner kick.

However, Colombia then scored from their first corner of the game as Yerry Mina rose highest to head home in the 92nd minute to level the score at 1-1 and take the game into extra-time where no goals were forthcoming.

Despite David Ospina saving Jordan Henderson’s effort to give his side the advantage in the shootout, Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar when his number was up before Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s strike.

Dier stepped up to take the decisive penalty and though Ospina got a hand to it, his effort found the back of the net to win the shootout 4-3.

VAR DEBATE

VAR was always going to be a topic of discussion at this World Cup and it will continue to be long after the tournament’s conclusion. There’s nothing wrong with the technology, that’s the good news. It furnishes the officials everything they require to arrive at the correct decision. However, it can’t account for the interpretation of events and that’s wherein lies the grey area and with it, the potential for error and inconsistency.

As England were awarded a free-kick in the 38th minute, an altercation ensued between Henderson and Wilmar Barrios in the box as Colombia tried to organise their defensive wall. The Liverpool midfielder was left on the deck and replays showed the Colombian headbutt him during their jostle.

After receiving word from the VAR officials, referee Mark Geiger issued only a yellow card to Barrios, much to England’s bewilderment. While there was never a question of a penalty given the ball was not in play, the rules of the game dictate that his headbutt – which is considered ‘violent conduct’ – warrants a sending off.

Why the referee didn’t go over to the sideline and review the incident for himself remains a mystery. Either way, it was the latest incident of controversy around the VAR officiating.

JAMES-SHAPED HOLE

There was much speculation over James Rodriguez’s fitness ahead of this encounter and in the end, he didn’t make the cut. Perhaps the absence of his crown jewel influenced Colombia coach Jose Pekerman’s decision to tweak his formation.

He set up without an attacking midfielder through the middle as Juan Quintero shifted to the left – where James usually operates – and went with three central midfielders with Barrios and Jefferson Lerma joining Carlos Sanchez in the middle of the park.

However, while that served to keep track of England’s midfield runners, it effectively eradicated Colombia’s attacking potential in possession. It wound up inviting England onto them, who were largely the better side and posed more of a threat.

Colombia were left to rely on counter-attacks for their chances and even when the opportunity to break came along, England had the numbers and, crucially, the pace to snuff them out.

It was only Kyle Walker’s error that finally allowed Juan Cuadrado a clear sight at goal before Colombia scored a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time from their first corner.

YOU CAN COUNT ON KANE

Pickford and Dier will command much of the attention for their starring roles in a memorable penalty shootout but it was Kane who was easily England’s talisman.

The skipper put in an inspiring performance, ensuring he wasn’t left on the fringes of play. Apart from an early Kieran Trippier cross, he received little in terms of service but never looked frustrated with his team-mates.

Instead, he only worked harder to get on the ball, hold on to it and win numerous free-kicks in the process. He even won the penalty and despite the exorbitant delay to take it, converted with the utmost composure, as he did his effort during the shootout.

It was a battling performance from a player who looks tailor-made for the England armband and destined for the Golden Boot.

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