Fri, Aug 18, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Germany gives new boss winning start

DEJA VU Joachim Loew's side continued where they left off at this summer's World Cup with an impressive performance against Sweden on Wednesday evening

AFP , GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY

New Germany coach Joachim Loew enjoyed a winning start as his side trounced a hapless Sweden 3-0 in a friendly in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.

It was the perfect beginning for Loew, who took over from Jurgen Klinsmann after this summer's World Cup, and the team will now be full of confidence for their first Euro 2008 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland on Sept. 2.

Even more so as the Irish were trounced 4-0 at home by the Netherlands also on Wednesday.

"We tried to bring the momentum from the World Cup into this match," Loew explained. "I think we did that and it was great to win my first game 3-0. It is a positive sign for the Euro qualifiers."

"I think you could see our team matured at the World Cup and we have a lot of confidence from that tournament. We just have to carry on in the Euro qualifiers," he said.

For his Swedish counterpart Lars Lagerback it was a case of an unpleasant deja vu.

"It was almost a repeat of the World Cup," bemoaned Sweden coach Lars Lagerback.

"We played against one of the best teams in the world tonight and if they play like they did tonight they will qualify for the European championships," he said.

Loew started with seven of the team that defeated Portugal 3-1 in the World Cup third-place play-off under Klinsmann's regime and watched as Germany raced into a two-goal lead after just eight minutes.

Bernd Schneider scored only his second international goal in the fourth minute after a clever cutback from Tim Borowksi.

World Cup Golden boot winner Miroslav Klose, presented with his German Player of the Year award before the game, then stole center stage taking advantage of some slack defending to bend in an eighth minute shot.

Sweden were shell-shocked -- just like they were when Germany scored twice in the first 12 minutes of their last 16 World Cup victory -- and it got worse.

Klose grabbed a second with a trademark header in the 44th minute taking his tally to 31 goals in 63 matches.

The Werder Bremen forward is now his country's current top-scorer along with captain Michael Ballack, who missed the game through an injury he sustained for Chelsea in Sunday's 2-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool.

Sweden were missing key stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Freddie Ljungberg and it showed.

With a 3-0 half-time lead Loew handed international debuts to Hertha Berlin left back Malik Fathi and Mainz 05 defender Manuel Friedrich.

The second half tailed off with Germany reducing the pace of their game and Sweden going through the motions.

A male pitch invader then livened the fans up in the 80th minute as Germany coasted to victory.

New manager Steve McClaren said England had set high standards in the first match under his tenure -- then challenged his team to repeat it time and again in order to become world beaters.

England beat European champions Greece 4-0 in a friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday to put the frustration of their lackluster run to the World Cup quarter-finals behind them.

Afterwards, the smiling boss stressed the straightforward ethos of teamwork, possession, attitude and discipline.

"We made the right decisions at the right time," McClaren said.

"We counter-attacked with pace, we kept possession, opened them up, used the width at the right times and that was the most pleasing thing for me -- in possession we looked like a team which was cohesive and worked together," he said.

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