Germany boss Joachim Low brushes off Michael Ballack criticism

Joachim Low says he does not care about criticism from Michael Ballack following Germany’s dismal World Cup defence.

Low’s team, who were victorious at the 2014 tournament, were favourites to retain the title in Russia before unexpectedly crashing out in the group stage.

Former Germany captain Ballack this week heaped fresh pressure on Low, saying he was surprised the 58-year was retained as coach following the embarrassment during the summer.

But Low, whose side face Holland in the Nations League on Saturday, is not interested in the negative comments.

“Anyone can say what he wants. This week I am not interested in anything,” he said at his pre-match press conference, according to Bild.

“I also saw the headlines somewhere, but then I did not even read everything because I did not care.

“This week I have other thoughts in my head – and next week all the more.”

Germany secured a goalless draw in their opening Nations League fixture against world champions France last month.

They travel to Amsterdam to take on rivals Holland in their second group fixture this weekend, before once again locking horns with Les Bleus on Tuesday.

The Dutch failed to qualify for the World Cup but, in spite of that, Low believes they possess similar quality to his own side.

“Holland versus Germany always has a touch of healthy rivalry,” he said, according to Germany’s official Twitter account.

“The Dutch have dragged themselves through their problems and have been getting good results of late.

“I think they are on a similar level.”

Low has been forced into some late squad changes, with Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka, Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz and Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus each withdrawing due to injury.

Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno, Juventus midfielder Emre Can, and Bayern winger Serge Gnabry have been brought in as replacements.

And Low is satisfied with the options at his disposal.

“We’ve had a few drop-outs, but we’ve not been dwelling on them,” he added.

“Emre Cane, Bernd Leno and Serge Gnabry have all settled in well. We have prepared well for these two interesting games.”

After their failure to qualify for Russia, Holland won a friendly against Peru last month before suffering a defeat to France in their Nations League opener.

Manager Ronald Koeman, who replaced Dick Advocaat in February, feels his team are making progress.

“It is now about actually achieving something. My feeling says that it is possible,” he said, according to Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

“How we related to the world champions (France) was largely positive. We have shown that we are on the right track.

“We only have to hold the level that I expect for longer.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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