France euphoria is extra motivation for us - Germany's Loew
By Karolos Grohmann
EVIAN, France (Reuters) - The host nation's bulging euphoria over France's Euro 2016 semi-final qualification is added motivation for Germany as they prepare to face them on Thursday, coach Joachim Loew said on Monday.
The Germans, who will need to shuffle their lineup due to injuries to Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez and the suspension of defender Mats Hummels, are preparing to face a team brimming with confidence.
"Such games are just great," Loew, who led Germany to the 2014 World Cup title in Brazil, told reporters.
His team reached the last four after an agonising penalty shootout win over Italy on Saturday.
"It is motivation for us, this euphoria. In Brazil it was similar in the (2014 World Cup) semi-finals with a country of 200 million people. But we did it quite well against them."
Germany did much more than that, crushing the hosts 7-1 in Belo Horizonte in an extraordinary semi-final, leaving millions of Brazilians in a state of shock.
"We did it well then and we will do it well this time again," Loew said.
The French secured their last-four spot with a 5-2 demolition of Iceland on Sunday, scoring four times in the first half to dash any hopes for the tournament's surprise team.
"France had an outstanding game yesterday although they did struggle a bit at the start of the tournament, scoring late and winning the games like that," Loew said.
"For them this was a bit of liberation, especially leading 4-0. They are now brimming with confidence, playing at home in Marseille with a fanatic crowd backing them.
"They are the absolute favourites with a home advantage and yesterday they tanked on confidence," the 56-year-old said.
Loew, who could also be without captain Bastian Schweinsteiger due to a ligament injury, was confident he had the manpower to get into the final as the Germans bid for a fourth continental crown.
Versatile midfielder Emre Can could slip into the holding role alongside Toni Kroos, with Julian Weigl a further option.
"We respect France, that's clear, but independent of our personnel situation, we know exactly what we have to do," Loew said.
"I have the feeling that the tournament is just starting. We are full of joy and energy although we are together six weeks now. I love these games against such tough teams."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)