Sports News of Sun, 6 Jul 20140
Netzer: Low has proven his stature at World Cup
The Borussia Monchengladbach great thinks the Germany boss has answered his critics by sticking to a tactical approach he believes in and guiding his side to the semi-finals.
Gunter Netzer has praised Joachim Low's strength of character for standing by his tactical decisions duringGermany's World Cup campaign.
Die Nationalelf have a semi-final against Brazil to look forward to against Brazil on Tuesday after overcoming France 1-0 in their quarter-final encounter.
Netzer insisted that Low deserves a great deal of credit for taking Germany to the last four, especially after making a number of tactical calls that were hotly debated in his homeland.
"The tactical discussions about Joachim Low have probably not existed before in this form during his tenure as national coach," the 69-year-old wrote in his column for Bild am Sonntag.
"They were unusual, but in response to several of his actions. There was the use of Shkodran Mustafi at right back in the game against Algeria. And the fact that Low has used four central defenders with Philipp Lahm ordered into defensive midfield and Mesut Ozil did not show in his best shape."
But Low has made the right decisions and one can only praise him.
"For a discussion of whether Low has behaved stubbornly, I can only say that I have experienced in all great coaches - they resort to surprising measures. That they throw proven measures overboard and make some decisions that for us outsiders are incomprehensible.
"Joachim Low has with his changes proven his stature."
However, though hailing some of the coach's strategic plans, Netzer, who was a World Cup winner in 1974, still belives that Germany have huge room for improvement and was particularly scathing when speaking of Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil.
"As before, the German team is not playing at a top level," he continued. "Ozil is still not in good shape. He must now explode into life. Mario Gotze has been a complete disappointment.
"But the outlook has become much better by the absences of Neymar and Thiago Silva. Neymar is the major character in the play of the Brazilians, he will be sorely missed by them.
"But our already intact chances are thereby increased again. For me, Germany will reach the final."