Low after a high against Wales

For those who think that being an international coach is easy, just ask Joachim Low.

Football - Germany v Spain - UEFA EURO 2008 Final - Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna, Austria - 29/6/08
Joachim Low - Germany Head Coach dejected at the end
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Michael Regan
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For those who think that being an international coach is easy, just ask Joachim Low. He has found that even success brings its own problems as Germany's World Cup campaign has been overshadowed by an unsavoury episode. Just two defeats - including the European Championship final to Spain - in 16 months would generally have left most people happy.

But as Low's side prepare to take on Group Four rivals Wales tonight, all the talk has been about Kevin Kuranyi's shock walk-out on the team after being left out against Russia. It seems to have become fashionable to reject the chance to play for your country and, following Scotland's Kris Boyd and Iran's Ali Karimi, the Schalke striker has become the latest to show scant regard for the honour. Even the unhappy frontman's apology, claiming missing out on the 2006 World Cup squad left him scarred, is unlikely to bring forgiveness.

Germany's general manager Oliver Bierhoff said: "You can see how tough it has been for him. We can understand it, but not what he did against his teammates. That, we cannot accept." Low says frustrated players like Kuranyi and Lukas Podolski - who has threatened to quit Bayern Munich after a lack of first-team starts - have to learn to accept football is more than just about individuals. "We have got to move away from the concept of a Germany national team which remains the same 11 players for the duration of a season," he added.

"If you just look at Manchester United or Chelsea you see that you now need 20 to 22 players and that means every week that some will have to sit on the bench or in the stands. You just think of the discussion as to why Podolski is not playing at Bayern, but why this discussion? You need 20 people to achieve your aims and you have got to be professional about it." The Kuranyi row did not affect the Germans against Russia and is unlikely to do so against Wales. John Toshack's side is brimming with talented youngsters, but will do very well to repeat last year's goalless draw in Frankfurt during the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

@Email:akhan@thenational.ae