Joachim Low believes Germany have been handed the most difficult group in the World Cup Finals, although he accepts his side are favourites to finish first.
Die Adler travel to Brazil looking to become world champions for the fourth time, yet the first since their 1990 success in Italy. Whilst no European side have ever won the World Cup in South America, the Germans will be quite fancied to compete with the likes of the Argentina and the host nation to lift the famous trophy in the final on Sunday July 13.
First, of course, they need to progress through their group and advance to the knockout stage. Standing in their way is Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal pals, the African Nations Championships runners-up Ghana, and the United States who are coached by German legend Jurgen Klinsmann. And Low believes this represents a huge challenge for him and his players.
“There are no walkovers in the World Cup, especially not in this group,” said the 54-year-old head coach, who led Germany to a third place finish four years ago in South Africa. “Portugal, USA and Ghana are at the top level internationally, but we will accept the role as favourites. You have to have respect – for the heat, high humidity and travel hardships. But complaining won’t work. We cannot change these things – we can prepare for them. And we do that.”
Ghana are currently 38 in the FIFA rankings, whilst USA are considered as the 14th best national side on the planet. Portugal are ranked third, which is just one place below Germany who look up at only Spain. Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho would love to see his homeland progress through Group G as winners of the pool, but he admits it is Low’s side who are likely to take pole position.
Speaking to Yahoo Sports, the 51-year-old Portuguese said: “I apologize deeply, but I opt for Germany as group winners and Portugal in second place.”