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Coach Loew Says No Major Overhaul Necessary for Germany

Joachim Loew plans no major overhaul of the German Euro 2008 runner-up team ahead of the 2010 World Cup, the coach said. Loew will remain in charge and will lead his team into the coming qualification rounds.

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew reacts during the Euro 2008 final between Germany and Spain

Loew said Germany would beat European champions Spain the next time they played

"It is clear that we will bring in new players, but there will be no full overhaul," Loew said in an interview with Tuesday's edition of the Bild daily.

Loew said that captain Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings, both 31, "are still hungry for success" and that "Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Lukas Podolski are yet to peak."

He also said that 38-year-old goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has so far not announced his retirement.

The core of Loew's team has been together since the 2006 World Cup where Germany finished third. The team then came second at Euro, losing Sunday's final 1-0 against Spain.

Qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa starts in September, with the Euro semi-finalist Russia Germany's toughest opponent in the group. But Loew confidently predicted that Germany would qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Possible additions include youngster Marko Marin, Jermaine Jones and Patrick Helmes who were all dropped just ahead of Euro.

Loew said "we can be proud" that Germany was the only nation to make the semi-finals at the 2006 World Cup and then at Euro as well.

"We reached the final in a tournament played on the highest level," he said. "That is a big success. We have become stable in the past two years. But there is a lot to be improved."

Loew praises winners, admits mistakes

Germany's soccer team head coach Joachim Loew celebrates with fans at a public viewing zone in central Berlin

Despite bitter defeat in the final, Loew and his team were greeted as heroes in Berlin

But Loew said that Germany stood no real chance after a strong start once Spain got rolling on Sunday. He praised a Spanish team of world class players and said that "Spain celebrated its game."

Asked whether he regretted any decisions he made at the tournament, Loew named the semi-final which Germany won 3-2 in the last minute over Turkey after being outplayed for most of the match.

"I believe we should have better played with a 4-4-2 than with five men in midfield," he said. "We could have generated more pressure and wouldn't have had to suffer for so long. But we got into the final, that's why nothing was wrong."

Loew predicted that the next time his team meets the newly-crowned European champions, his team would win.

"The Spanish were a very good team all through the championship," Loew said. "We have to recognize their quality ... Should the Spanish come up again in a championship we will beat them. We were crazy with disappointment and sadness, but I think that coming second was a great achievement for us. The team has performed amazingly in the last two years and we can all be proud that we were in the final."

Serial disappointment doesn't dull Ballack's hunger

Captain Michael Ballack said meanwhile it was "always bitter" to lose a final.

Germany's Michael Ballack thanks the fans in Berlin

Ballack praised the fans for their support at Euro 2008

"Of course we are disappointed after coming so far, after so many weeks of hard work, and the qualification too," Ballack said. "And then to get to the final and to lose, that is always bitter to lose a final, for sure."

Losing in a final is a feeling the Chelsea midfielder is intimately acquainted with, having lost May's Champions League final to Manchester United and February's League Cup decider to Tottenham Hotspur.

And nor it is the first time that defeat for the 31-year-old has been at the hands of the Spanish, having lost to Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final when he played for Bayer Leverkusen.

For the 2002 World Cup final defeat to Brazil he was suspended.

He also said that Germany's strong performance in Euro 2008 -- notably their emphatic 3-2 quarter-final victory over Portugal -- was in large part down to the huge numbers of fans that traveled to Austria and Switzerland to cheer them on.

"For practically every game (our) supporters were always in the majority," he said. "And that is important for our team. It is still a young team and it is very, very important that particularly in difficult phases of the game to have the support, and in many, many games that was fantastic."

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