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Low not taking Algeria lightly

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30 Jun 2014 12:02:05

Low not taking Algeria lightly

Joachim Low has warned Germany they must not underestimate Algeria, who will be looking to settle a 32-year-old score on Monday.

Algeria will make it through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time if they beat Germany in Porto Alegre.

The African team have another motivation to beat the Germans - revenge.

At the 1982 World Cup, Austria appeared to allow West Germany to beat them 1-0 so both teams could progress to the second round at Algeria's expense.

Algerian officials launched a protest, claiming the match was fixed, but the allegations were never proven and the result stood.

Algeria's current coach Vahid Halilhodzic warned Germany that the African nation had not forgotten the incident, but Low was keen to play down the importance of what happened in 1982 earlier this week.

"It's not an issue for us. Maybe some on the other side want to make an issue out of it to motivate Algeria," the Germany coach said.

Low was far more willing to talk about the present at his press conference on the eve of the match at the Estadio Beira-Rio.

The Germany coach, who has been assured he will stay in his job even if his team loses, is wary of complacency creeping into his squad.

Germany hammered Portugal 4-0 in one of the best performances of the tournament a fortnight ago.

But the Germans had to come from behind to draw with Ghana and they then scraped past the United States 1-0 to confirm their status as Group G winners.

After watching Algeria beat South Korea and draw against Russia, Low is wary of the threat that Monday's opponents could cause.

"If you believe that Algeria is an easy opponent, you are vastly mistaken," he said.

"They have fantastic ability.

"I have rarely seen teams as physically robust as them.

"They have fast strikers and a strong defence, and they are very compact in a fight.

"The players have a French background, many have been very well trained in France."

Low is faced with the dilemma of whether to stick with Bastian Schweinsteiger or replace the midfielder with Sami Khedira.

Schweinsteiger's Bayern Munich team-mate Mario Gotze looks set to come in for Lukas Podolski, who is out with a thigh injury.

Algeria striker Islam Slimani has played a key role in Algeria's progression to the last 16.

The Sporting Lisbon star scored once and provided two assists in the 4-2 win over South Korea before heading in the equaliser against Russia which sent Algeria through.

Slimani knows he and his team-mates will have to up their game against the three-time world champions on Monday if they are to go through.

"The Germans are playing very well and everyone knows what they're capable of," Slimani said.

"We're clearly the underdogs, but we're confident we can put in a great performance. We'll have to be more focused than ever before and play our very best football."


PA

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