ERASMIA, July 8 – In the wake of his side's World Cup semi-final defeat to Spain, Germany coach Joachim Loew remains tight-lipped on his future plans despite now being out of contract.
The 50-year-old’s four-year deal with the German Football Federation (DFB) officially expired on June 30 and Loew has said nothing about his own future while his side has played some of the World Cup’s best football.
"Any talk about the position will only be spoken about after the World Cup," said Loew after his side lost 1-0 in Durban on Wednesday thanks to a 74th-minute goal by Carles Puyol.
"This team will get stronger over the next two years, irrespective of which coach is in charge."
Despite losing several key players before coming to South Africa, Loew’s young side has impressed with fast-flowing, attack-minded football and now face Uruguay in Saturday’s third-place play-off in Port Elizabeth.
Attacking midfielders Mesut Ozil, 21, and Thomas Mueller, 20, will deservedly leave South Africa as household names, while Mueller is a favourite to win the tournament’s best young player award.
Loew must now decide — if he has not already — whether he wants to lead Germany into Euro 2012, to be held in Poland and the Ukraine, with the first qualifier against Belgium in Brussels on September 3.
Loew and his entire back-room staff will need to re-open negotiations with the DFB after talks broke down in February.
Both Loew and Zwanziger have repeatedly said they are keen to continue working together, but the head coach has dropped no hints about his plans.
Having succeeded Jurgen Klinsmann after the last World Cup hosted in Germany, Loew has built a deserved reputation as a master tactician – guiding them to the Euro 2008 final where they lost 1-0 to Spain – and has stood firm when dealing with rebellious players in the past.
But there is speculation in the German media about Loew’s possible replacement, if he decides to walk away.
A possible candidate for the head coach job has been tipped to be the DFB’s director of sport Matthias Sammer, who has been in the job since 2006.
The former Dortmund and Stuttgart coach played in the team which won Euro ’96 and Zwanziger has hinted he would be a suitable candidate.