Joachim Low had fun with the row about Cristiano Ronaldo moving drink bottles as Germany prepared to face Portugal at Euro 2020.
Joachim Low wants Germany to show Cristiano Ronaldo they have the kind of bottle that he and Portugal cannot handle in Saturday’s crunch Euro 2020 clash.
Head coach Low has told his team to “take more risks” and be brave as Germany bid to bounce back from their opening 1-0 defeat to France in Group F.
The Munich tussle follows several days when Ronaldo has faced scrutiny for moving two Coca-Cola bottles that were positioned on a news conference stage, and appearing to declare he preferred water to the tournament sponsor’s product.
“Cristiano can do more than put away Coca-Cola bottles, he has more qualities,” said Low on Friday evening, as he faced questions on how Germany would handle the Portuguese superstar.
That quip came amid a full assessment of Portugal’s threat, but Low was more eager to talk about his own team’s potential, feeling they have more to give than they showed against France.
He said that result left an “unfortunate and bitter” feeling, and added: “It’s no secret we didn’t create enough.”
Low, who will step down after this tournament, hopes to see “more attacking power”, saying Germany “need to be more intense, more effective”.
“I think every player understood in attack we need to react in a different way. If we are in the final third, we need to stay there. [Against France] we always played backwards going out of the final third,” Low said.
“We tried to be secure, not intense enough, but we need this dynamic in attack, especially in the final third.
“We need to take more risks, occupy spaces better, not go out of these spaces, and be more effective. We missed a number of occasions and options to do better [in the France game] and I’m sure we will do better tomorrow.”
Portugal began with a 3-0 win over Hungary, though they were flattered by that margin, with the match having been goalless going into the final 10 minutes.
Ronaldo scored twice, his first a penalty, after Raphael Guerreiro broke the deadlock.
“It’s not a one-man show, that’s clear,” Low said of Portugal.
“Portugal have been at the top since four to five years. With winning the Euro title [in 2016] they grew together, they’re a great team.
“Is it a one-man show? It was before… Cristiano Ronaldo the superstar of the Portuguese team, he was ‘the man’, but this has changed. They have more players of top quality: [Bernardo] Silva, [Bruno] Fernandes, Joao Felix, Jota and many more and they are involved in attack as much as Cristiano is.”
Germany would be in great danger of elimination should they lose, and going out in the group stage of his final tournament would hardly be a fitting way to sign off for World Cup winner Low.
“With the pressure we can deal with it, the players can deal with it,” Low said. “We need a positive result and we want to show a good performance, but the pressure won’t hinder us.”
Portugal’s last victory against Germany was in the group stages of Euro 2000 – a 3-0 win, courtesy of a Sergio Conceicao hat-trick.
Since then, Germany have won their four meetings with Portugal, all at major tournaments (the World Cups in 2006 and 2014 and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships).
But Low said: “All that’s important is tomorrow night, 90 minutes against Portugal, and not what our history is against Portugal or France. This doesn’t help if you know about that.”