Germany boss Joachim Low set the semi-finals stage of Euro 2020 as his side’s “minimum goal” despite struggling to a 3-3 UEFA Nations League draw at home against Switzerland. The 2014 World Cup winners have been far from convincing in their five fixtures in 2020, managing just one victory and currently sitting second in Group A4, a point behind Spain.
An early goal against Mario Gavranovic gave Switzerland the lead in Cologne before Remo Freuler doubled his lead in the middle of half-time. However, Werner put the pressure on the opponent that Havertz equalized shortly after the break.Gavranovic reappeared to force the Swiss back just seconds after Havertz’s draw, but Gnabry made it 3-3 30 minutes. It ended with neither side getting the 3 points.
The 60-year-old coach was disappointed with how his team started the game but was strengthened by their resilience to scoring a point in a difficult situation. In a post-match interview, the long-time boss also spoke about the potential of his team for the future and insisted that only one semi-final or more at Euro 2020 would be considered a success.
“It was a very high-intensity game,” Low said post-match. “Both sides took a lot of risks, but there were also several mistakes. We started the game poorly, but we showed real character to come back, which was good to see. We made a number of mistakes in defence though. Our plan was to play with a certain element of risk, but we need to fix those errors.”
In the qualifier last year, Toni Kroos struck twice as Germany qualified for the European Championship with a 4-0 win over Belarus. Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Matthias Ginter opened the scoring for the hosts before Leon Goretzka doubled their lead to book their place in the tournament. Low’s Germany havequalified for the finals for a record 13th time in a row.
“We battled hard to get back into the game. You can learn a lot from setbacks. We need to improve our communication and instructions. When we go to the EURO’s, our aim is to get as far as possible, but reaching the semi-finals is the minimum goal,” Low added. “This team has a lot of potential. We need to correct a few things, but then I think there’s plenty to be excited about.”
Eight goals in three games speak for more to come after TimoWerner (Chelsea), Serge Gnabry, and Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich) provide real pace and quality. They are backed up by midfielders like Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Joshua Kimmich, and Leon Goretzka (Bayern). However, conceding seven goals is deeply worrying and something Germany has to address if they are to return to their former strengths.
Low also praised his team’s spirit, insisting on counting on various tactical systems. Since the resumption of international football in September, Germany’s only win has been a 2-1 win in the Nations League game against Ukraine. All four other games ended in a draw – 1:1 against Spain (home) and Switzerland (away) and 3:3 against Turkey (home) and the Swiss (home).