Germany's national soccer coach, Joachim Loew, has extended his contract until the European Championship in 2012 in a move welcomed by many in the country's football community.
"My team and I are very happy to continue working with the DFB (German Football Association)," Loew told a news conference in Frankfurt. "We are looking forward to the next challenges."
Loew said he informed several national team players of his decision via cell phone text message.
"There have already been some responses, from Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger," Loew said. "They wished me good luck and many thanks."
The 50-year-old Loew led an impressive young German team to a third-place finish at this year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa, after losing to eventual champions, Spain, in the semi-final.
National manager Oliver Bierhoff and assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick have also extended their contracts until Euro 2012, which is to be staged in Poland and Ukraine.
The new deal comes after protracted contractual wrangling between the DFB and the national coaching team under Loew and Bierhoff. Talks broke down in February with the pair unhappy that details had been leaked to the media. Loew then said he would leave his decision until after the World Cup.
Football icons upbeat
The reappointment has been broadly welcomed by the country's football community, with former national team coach Rudi Voeller calling it a "very good decision by all involved."
Voeller said maintaining the unity of the national coaching team, including Flick and goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke, was a positive development for German football.
"The fact that all four are staying is great," he said. "Now the development of the last few years with the young, talented team can continue. The basis for the future is there."
Senior national team member Michael Ballack, whose captaincy of die Mannschaft has been under question after he was replaced by Philipp Lahm at the World Cup, also praised Loew's re-appointment.
"I'm happy the team will remain united. It has performed excellently together," said Ballack, who returns to the Bundesliga this season with his old club Bayer Leverkusen.
DFB President Theo Zwanziger, meanwhile, has left his own future open following Loew's contract extension. The DFB executive committee is to due to deliberate over the presidency in October.
"[Loew's new deal] could have some influence, but it's not vital," Zwanziger said in Frankfurt. "Now, I'm going to spend some time reflecting. I will think calmly about what is right for the association and what is right for me."
Loew came to prominence as national assistance coach in the lead-up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany under then-head coach Juergen Klinsmann. He assumed the top job when Klinsmann stepped down following that tournament.
Author: Darren Mara (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Rob Turner