General News of Sunday, 22 June 2014
Joachim Loew, coach of Germany, has played down the possibility of a fixed match or even rumours of it between his side and the USA in their last Group G match on Thursday.
The question was not directly put to Loew but journalists covering the World Cup believed something of the sort could be on the cards as the current favourable standings of the two teams on the group table could make Germany play it soft against the USA in their last match to enable both qualify from the group for the next round.
At a post-match press conference in Fortaleza on Saturday, the question was put to the German coach as to his relationship with the USA coach, Juergen Klinsman, and his answer was instructive: "My relationship with Juergen is brilliant but we have not had any frequent contacts during this tournament and l believe it will stay that way till after the tournament".
It is suspected that following Germany's 2-2 draw with Ghana either a draw or a win by the USA against Germany on Thursday will see both countries through to the next round of the tournament regardless of the outcome of the match between Ghana and Portugal on the same day.
This scenario holds, especially in the event that the Americans fail to beat or draw with the Portuguese in their second group match in Manaus today. But Loew dismissed any such conspiracy theory, saying ... "For us, the situation hasn't changed with the drawn game against Ghana, we can't afford to lose the last match".
He stressed that despite the result against Ghana which put Germany in pole position for second round qualification, they would not back down, an apparent hint that Germany would not lower their guards against the USA in the last match.