Spain have similar problems to Bayern – Netzer

The West Germany great believes the issues la Roja are suffering from are not too different from those experienced by the German champions and says they must adapt their system

Gunter Netzer believes Spain need to evolve rapidly and are in a similar position to Bayern Munich, with teams exploiting their weaknesses.

Vicente Del Bosque’s side have endured a terrible World Cup, falling to a 5-1 defeat to Netherlands and a 2-0 reversal to Chile to exit the tournament in an unexpectedly hurried fashion.

Netzer, commenting on la Roja’s demise, sees similarities between the way teams have found ways to overcome the 2010 World Cup winners and the fact Peo Guardiola’s Bayern were equally undone by Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League last term.

“The problem is that the other teams have simply adjusted to the Spanish system,” the 69-year-old wrote in his column for Bild.

“The times are gone when the opponents were glad when they had conceded fewer than five goals. Spain are suffering because other teams have improved systematically.

“The bigger problem, however, is home-made. Similar to Bayern under Pep Guardiola, the Spaniards’ game suffers in that chances are played out and not translated into goals. If Spain had used the opportunities that had arisen, we would not now be discussing their World Cup exit.

“The point is to partner effectiveness with dominance – in the Spanish national team as well as at Bayern. The philosophy must be even more focused on success.”

Netzer, who himself was a World Cup winner in 1974, believes Spain must make wholesale changes, but says that does not necessarily mean starting with the removal of their head coach.

“It is not my thinking that this must also automatically be the end of coach Vicente del Bosque,” he continued.

“Because if you are totally convinced of a coach[‘s talent], you have to forgive him his failures. The same applies for the DFB and Joachim Low and his output at the World Cup.

“It would be wrong to now throw everything overboard, [when] it was seen to be correct just a few weeks before. Football must not condemn you with one blow.”

“I do not think that the Spaniards’ successes of the past tournaments have gone to [Del Bosque’s] head,” he added.

Van Persie: I love playing with 'fantastic' Robben

The Bayern Munich star has been exceptional for Netherlands so far at the World Cup and his attacking partner admits he relishes their time on the pitch

Robin van Persie has praised Arjen Robben following the Bayern Munich man’s brilliant performances in the Netherlands’ two World Cup matches so far.

Louis van Gaal’s side have enjoyed an excellent start to the tournament and have already sealed qualification to the last 16 following a 5-1 victory against world champions Spain and a 3-2 triumph over Australia.

Van Persie and Robben have been key figures in both matches, contributing to six goals across the two games, and the Manchester United striker has taken the time to praise Robben for his scintillating form.

“Arjen is a fantastic footballer and I love playing with him,” he said.

“For us, it’s a little more difficult, because we both have a more central role to play, but it works because we have scored six times and hopefully we can continue in that fashion.

“He is unpredictable for the opponent, but not for me and the team.

“You can see all sides with him. He is quick, can score goals and provide assists.”

The Dutch meet Chile on Monday at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. While both sides are already through to the last 16, the pair will be playing to avoid a potential meeting with Brazil in the knockout stages.

Robben will have a chance to add to his haul in the final group game, but captain Van Persie misses out having picked up bookings against both Spain and Australia.

Mourinho: I love Lahm… as a full-back

The Portuguese coach says he respects Joachim Low’s decision to deploy the defender in front of his back four but feels the Bayern Munich ace offers more out wide

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has declared his “love” for Germany international Philipp Lahm, but insists the player should be deployed at full-back.

The Bayern Munich ace is a defender by trade but last season he was converted into a defensive midfielder by coach Pep Guardiola.

Lahm was also deployed in front of the back four by Germany boss Joachim Low for the country’s World Cup opener against Portugal but Mourinho feels the 30-year-old is better at the back than in the middle of the park.

“I love Philipp Lahm as a full-back,” the Blues boss told Yahoo. “Either on the right or on the left, where he has played so many times.

“I like him so much playing on either side because he’s so aggressive going forward and has high quality passing and crossing … Even at left-back coming inside to shoot. I like him so, so much.

“But Joachim Low decided to play him in midfield. He has his own ideas and we have to respect them.”

Germany kicked off their World Cup campaign by routing the Seleccao 4-0 and will be looking to make it two wins from two when they face Ghana on Saturday at 21:00CET.

Portugual thrashing means nothing, says Gotze

The 22-year-old believes Germany have to put in another big performance when they face Ghana after thrashing the Paulo Bento’s side in their group stage opener

Germany star Mario Gotze is adamant that his side’s 4-0 drubbing of Portugal in their opening group game will count for nothing when they face Ghana on Saturday.

Joachim Low’s side began their campaign in impressive fashion, with Thomas Muller’s hat-trick and a strike from Mats Hummels securing a heavy win against the Seleccao.

The Bayern Munich star is delighted with how his side have fared thus far but has warned his team-mates not to take anything for granted against the Black Stars.

“It was important for us to take those three points [against Portugal], but that was all,” Gotze told Fifa’s official website.

“Our performance shouldn’t be overstated, as there were some things that simply went well for us. In some situations we were just lucky.

“It won’t be easy given that Ghana now need three points no matter what. It’ll be a very tough game, but we can be confident about it.

“We don’t have many matches at this tournament, so we’re trying to go into each one of them with a high level of concentration.

“In these conditions it’s important to play rationally, stay focused and play football our way.”

Boateng brothers won’t be distracted, says Ayew

Siblings Jerome and Kevin-Prince will line up on opposite sides when Ghana meet Germany on Saturday but the Marseille player insists they won’t be distracted because of it

Andre Ayew says team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng will not get distracted when he meets his brother Jerome on the field when Ghana face Germany on Saturday.

While Kevin-Prince was born in Germany, he opted to represent the Black Stars at national team level but his brother Jerome plays for die Mannschaft and they will line up against each other this weekend.

Ayew has experience of playing directly against younger brother Jordan in Ligue 1, where the former continues to play with Marseille, while the latter spent the second half of the season on loan to Sochaux, and he says it will not be an issue at Fortaleza’s Castelao stadium.

“It’s not the first time [at international level] he’s played against his brother, he had that experience four years ago,” Ayew told the media. “And he plays for Schalke, so he plays against him for Bayern, so it won’t distract him at all.

“When I play my brother, it’s something fantastic. It’s not often that players get the opportunity to play against each other at this level.”

Ayew does not feel his team need to alter their style for this encounter, explaining that aside from the start and end of the USA match, which they lost 2-1, they played a good game.

“Ghana is just going to be Ghana,” he stated. “The Germans are talking about our physicality, but we know we are also technical. We have a lot of qualities.

“We went into the US game with a lot of determination, despite losing a goal early. We just need to change the first five minutes and the last five minutes and we would have won. We have a lot of experienced players in the team, but the mixture is good.

“In 2006, we lost the first game and went through. In 2010, we won the first game and went through with four points.

“No one put us under this pressure; we put ourselves under this pressure so we need to get through strongly.

“We are ready to go out and die for our nation – we’re going to do everything to make our people proud.”

The Marseille player’s father was nicknamed after Brazil legend Pele, but Ayew was keen to stress that the host nation of the World Cup has not yet produced any fond memories for him.

“This is my first time in Brazil and it has not given me anything – it could give me qualification to the next stage!”