Best yet to come from Germany
Joachim Loew (AFP)
Rio de Janeiro - Joachim Loew insists the best is yet to come from his mis-firing Germany ahead of Friday's Soccer World Cup quarter-final against France.
Loew's Germans take on the French at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium, but have failed to impress since thumping Portugal 4-0 in their opening match.
Germany finished as group winners after grinding out a 2-2 draw with Ghana and a 1-0 win over the USA, but laboured to a 2-1 extra-time win over Algeria on Monday in the last 16 after struggling to finish their chances.
The German coach is bidding to steer his side to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the fourth consecutive time in his eight-year reign.
Germany have so far failed to recapture their dazzling form of 2010 when they finished third in South Africa, claiming the scalps of England and Argentina en route.
But Loew says the best is yet to come as they bid to beat France and claim a place in Tuesday's semi-final against either Brazil or Colombia.
"We haven't shown a consistent level of performance so far," said the 54-year-old Loew.
"Teams like Ghana and USA had nothing to lose and everything to win, this game is different.
"We have not yet delivered our best possible performances, that is still to come.
"We had a very bad first half against Algeria, but were better in the second.
"The team showed they can fight, Algeria fought hard, but we fought harder.
"We brought them to their knees in the second half and we really had a strong will to win.
"Some people have said 'who are Algeria?' but that shows they have little footballing knowledge.
"This isn't an easy-to-figure out computer game and your own team isn't always easy to programme, but you have to find the right combinations.
"You either win and stay or lose and go home."
Loew has a contract with the German FA (DFB) until June 2016 and a quarter-final exit will put him under pressure to resign.
But it's not a new situation for him.
"I don't think it's the out of the ordinary. In South Africa it was the same, I couldn't care less about what is going on or what is being said," he insisted.
"I haven't read a German newspaper since we got here.
"We are focused on how we can win, not how we can avoid losing."
Debate is also raging in Germany about whether captain Philipp Lahm should revert back to his customary right-back role having been used in midfield so far in Brazil.
Loew cryptically hinted he might well switch Lahm's position against the French.
"There is much discussion in Germany of where Philipp should play, it's also nothing new," said Loew.
"This kind of discussion isn't really helping me much.
"There are some decisons which have been taken, but they aren't forever and we'll see what the options are.
"You'll get a pretty good idea early on where Philipp will play against France."