Loew fumes as Germany crashes on Neuer's return

Joachim Loew slammed "sloppy" Germany as the world champion crashed to a 1-2 defeat to Austria on Manuel Neuer's comeback to leave it winless in its last five games.

Joachim Loew slammed “sloppy” Germany as the world champion crashed to a 1-2 defeat to Austria on Manuel Neuer’s comeback to leave it winless in its last five games.

“If we play like that in Russia, then we have no chance,” fumed Germany head coach Loew in Klagenfurt on Saturday.

Less than a fortnight before the World Cup kicks off, Germany has now suffered back-to-back defeats after also sliding to a 0-1 loss to Brazil in Berlin in March.

The good news from a German perspective is that Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer looks set to go to the World Cup, having proved his fitness despite eight months on the sidelines due to injury.

However, when the Germany defense buckled in the second half, Neuer was powerless to stop Martin Hinteregger and Alessandro Schoepf scoring after Mesut Ozil had given the visitors an early lead.

“That was a good comeback from Manuel Neuer after so long out,” said Loew. “He made one or two outstanding saves, but the defeat annoys me. We didn’t put into practice what we had planned.

“After the break, we fell into a pattern which I didn’t like at all and we were far too sloppy in our game going forward.”

However, Loew was keeping calm with one eye on the World Cup.

“There is a lot of work to do, but we won’t drive ourselves crazy. In two weeks, the team will be very differently prepared and I won’t be having sleepless nights.”

Loew declined to comment when a poll by national broadcaster ZDF showed the majority of German fans would rather see Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen than Neuer play at the World Cup.

Both Neuer and Ter Stegen are set to fly to Russia. Loew must cut four names today before Germany names its final 23-man World Cup squad.

Germany plays Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen on Friday in its final warm-up match before facing Mexico in Moscow in its opening World Cup match on June 17.

Meanwhile, South Korea left yesterday for its pre-World Cup camp with youngster Lee Seung-woo in its final 23-man squad and Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-yeung named as captain.

Tottenham Hotspurs’ talismanic forward Son Heung-min leads the Taeguk Warriors front line, though Crystal Palace midfielder Lee Chung-yong failed to make it to a third World Cup when he was cut late on Saturday from the 28-man provisional squad before it departed for a pre-World Cup camp in Austria.

Lee, the 20-year-old winger who plays for Verona in Italy, was the surprise name retained in the 23 after making his debut just six days ago in Monday’s 2-0 friendly win over Honduras.

The 2002 World Cup semifinalist has been drawn in a tough Group F where it will open its campaign against Sweden in Nizhny Novgorod on June 18.

It then faces Mexico on June 23 in Rostov-on-Don before taking on Germany on June 27 in Kazan.

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