Sloppy German finishing leaves Euro 2016 champagne on ice
DUBLIN: Germany coach Joachim Loew rued his team's missed chances in their surprise 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Ireland on Thursday, which delayed any qualification celebrations by a few days.
The Group D leaders, who only needed a point in Dublin, are on 19, one ahead of Poland and the Irish, who play each other on Sunday. Three-time European champions Germany have a seemingly easier task at home against Georgia.
"At the end of the day we were lacking the final touch, the final pass never arrived and then we go and make a mistake and concede a goal and this should never have happened with such possession," said Loew.
"I am disappointed by this defeat but at least we still have it in our own hands."
Shane Long scored the winner in the 70th minute after a long ball from the keeper caught the entire German backline napping.
"We have to make it clear to the team that they must convert their chances better. We cannot be that wasteful. Normally we score a lot of goals but there are the occasional matches and there have been some recently -- where we make very little out of a lot chances," said Loew.
The world champions were the overwhelming favourites but despite several good early chances they failed to ensure a top two finish and automatic qualification for next year's tournament in France with a game to spare.
Thomas Mueller, who has scored eight goals in the qualifiers, also wasted a late chance with the attacking midfielder firing wide.
"We had chances throughout, maybe not huge ones but we got our chances," Mueller said. "But we did not use them and that's what you get when you don't use them. I should have scored my chance at the end."
He will have an opportunity to make amends on Sunday with the Georgians already out of the running and a sold-out crowd expected in Leipzig.
Loew will not have injured Mario Goetze at his disposal with the midfielder pulling adductor muscles in the first half on Thursday while captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is highly doubtful with a similar injury sustained in the final training session before the match in Dublin.
"For Bastian it looks like he may not be able to make it in time for Sunday," Loew said. "Two-three days, that's how long he needs to rest so it will be very, very tight.
"But we know what we have to do. We must now beat Georgia and automatically qualify."