By Ryland James, AFP
BERLIN — World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Loew is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. After claiming their fourth World Cup in July, retirements and injuries took their toll as Germany struggled for form at the start of their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in the second half of the year. A shock first-ever defeat to neighbors Poland in Warsaw followed by a 1-1 draw with Ireland in October leaves Germany third in their qualifying group for the 2016 finals in France. But the world champions will still start 2015 on top of FIFA’s world rankings. Germany will tackle six qualifiers next year, including hosting Poland next September followed by away matches to Ireland and Scotland.
With the top two qualifying automatically and third place enough for a play-off, there is margin for error, but Loew is looking for strong performances to qualify for Euro 2016 as group winners. ��It would be wrong to be satisfied with what we have achieved so far,�� said Germany’s head coach, who took charge in 2006 and has a contract until after Euro 2016. ��It is important for us now to put some distance between ourselves and our previous success and bring in new ideas. ��We have to introduce new players and set new goals to keep the players motivated.�� Paris Success to
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The 54-year-old Loew is clear on what he wants Germany to achieve in 2015, which starts with a friendly against Australia at the end of March. ��I hope that we are able to confirm our (World Cup) success,�� Loew said. ��That we can characterize an era in which we not only won the (World Cup) title, but we can recapture the feeling (of success). ��And that in 2016 we can win the (European Championship) final in Paris and then focus on defending our title at the 2018 World Cup.��