Germany coach Joachim Loew is not considering that Tuesday’s Euro 2020 last-16 clash with England could be his last after 15 years in charge of his country as he targets a place in the quarterfinals.
Loew will be replaced by his one-time assistant Hansi Flick, who led Bayern Munich to Champions League glory in 2020, after the European Championship.
Despite winning the World Cup in 2014, the 61-year-old has been fiercely criticised for his role in a humiliating group-stage exit from the 2018 World Cup and a series of poor results before the Euro.
Germany needed a late equaliser from Leon Goretzka to snatch a 2-2 draw with Hungary just to reach the knockout stage, but Loew hopes his players will be inspired by facing familiar rivals England at Wembley.
“All in all I thought about it two seconds,” said Loew of potentially his last game. “I don’t think about it because I have so many other thoughts in my head.
“This is my passion. My whole focus is on the match tomorrow night and I hope we will succeed.”
England have not beaten Germany in the knockout stages of a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup final, but will have the vast majority of a 45 000 crowd on their side.
“I think all the matches between England and Germany you talk about for years after,” added Loew.
“This is a match which electrifies everybody. For both teams, it’s in or out, it’s now or never, the loser goes home. There is a lot at stake tomorrow, I can feel the players are highly motivated and we have analysed the English side.
“We are looking forward to this great encounter and a great evening ahead.”
Germany’s clash with Hungary was overshadowed by the political row which saw Uefa block an attempt by the city of Munich to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours in support for the LGBTQ community.
Manuel Neuer has sported a rainbow captain’s armband during the tournament and will be joined by England skipper Harry Kane on Tuesday.
England players have also made their case for equality by taking the knee before all matches at Euro 2020 to protest racial injustice, despite being booed for doing so by some of their own fans.
Neuer confirmed the German players will join their English counterparts in taking the knee before kick-off.
“Of course we stand for tolerance and are against discrimination. We will show solidarity to the English team, that’s why we are also doing the same gesture,” said the Bayern Munich goalkeeper.
“As everybody knows during the Euro we have the captain’s band with the rainbow colours.
“The English team also show solidarity. Harry Kane is to do the same tomorrow. We take the same position, they also are in favour of tolerance and against discrimination so we didn’t have to discuss it a lot.”