RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The best is yet to come from Germany. That was the promise, at least, from coach Joachim Loew ahead of Friday's World Cup quarterfinal against France at the Maracana Stadium.
While Germany looked impressive in a 4-0 win over Portugal in its opening match, the three-time champion struggled in its next games, being held to a 2-2 draw by Ghana, edging the United States 1-0 and needing extra time to beat Algeria 2-1.
Still, Germany is contesting its ninth straight World Cup quarterfinal.
"We have not yet delivered our best possible performance," Loew said Thursday. "But I don't think anyone has reached their absolute top performance yet.
"It's not a computer game that is easily figured out — You can't easily figure out your opponent and it's not easy to program your own team. Mistakes are made. ... And then there are other elements from beyond the pitch."
An element such as this: seven Germany players have been struggling with illness.
"One-third of our squad has been complaining about a sore throat," Loew said. "But yesterday and today all players have been training and none were feeling exhaustion. I just hope that stays stable until tomorrow."
Germany played its group matches in the warmer, northeastern climates of Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife then faced Algeria in the second round in cool and damp conditions in the southern city of Porto Alegre.
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