Low delighted with Neuer's 'world-class saves'

Manuel Neuer was in fine form for Germany (Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

Germany head coach Joachim Low paid tribute to the performance of Manuel Neuer after the world champion beat Georgia 2-1 to seal its place at EURO 2016.

The Bayern Munich goalkeeper made three great saves in Leipzig – one of which came with the scores level at one apiece – as the host made hard work of getting the point it required to reach the tournament in France.

Ultimately, a goal from substitute Max Kruse 11 minutes from time settled nerves after a tense contest had seen Germany waste countless opportunities to put the result beyond doubt.

Low was far from satisfied with the overall performance but did pay tribute to the 'world class' stops made by Neuer to prevent his side from paying the price for its missed chances.

"We can draw the same conclusions as against Ireland," he said.

"We have again missed three or four chances at the beginning and then came the frustration. From there, some errors crept in and we had big trouble in the second half.

"Manuel Neuer had to make two or three world-class saves to prevent us from falling behind. We are sometimes not attentive enough. Unfortunately, you have to say we have allowed a few clear chances at the back.

"In general we can be pleased that we have won the group and managed qualification, but we are not satisfied with the last two games. That is not our standard."

Meanwhile, Mats Hummels acknowledged Germany must improve in the final third if it is to make an impression at EURO 2016.

The world champion sealed top spot in qualifying Group D but it was a far from convincing result for Low's side, with Neuer having to pull off a string of excellent saves to keep a determined Georgia at bay.

And Hummels, who made the mistake that led to Republic of Ireland's decisive goal in Germany's previous qualifier, insists that the onus is now on the side to become more clinical in front of goal.

"Of course it is annoying if we do not seize the opportunities, because it would make our lives much easier. This is a matter on which we have to work," the Borussia Dortmund defender said.

"We knew that the Georgians are technically much stronger than it says the world rankings. This is something that the coach clearly addressed before the game.

"In some situations, the Georgia players were running up very freely with two or three players to us because we were pushing forward as we had not taken our chances. That is hard for any team."

Low said the golden chances missed by Marco Reus highlight what is going wrong for the world champion.

Borussia Dortmund star Reus was the worst culprit in front of goal, missing the target with two clear one-on-one chances and having five other efforts saved, with Low saying his misses sum up where his players need to improve.

"Marco is usually an excellent player, who will not miss such opportunities," said Low.

"He has a lot of quality, but he has not taken two or three big chances. Again in this game we have not taken the variety of opportunities we created.

"We are like a boxer at the moment. We are landing punches but they are not knocking the opponent out."

Despite topping the group, Low says Germany has significant work to do if it is to match its performances from last year's FIFA World Cup when it arrives at EURO 2016.

He continued: "It will take some hard work to get back to the level of performances at the World Cup, but there is a long way to go until the finals and we know that the long period of preparation will do us a lot of good.

"We are unable to surprise the opponents when they are set in defence, so tactically there are a few things we need to consider. Our style of play will remain mostly the same, but there are some details that need adjusting.

"It is not our style to send long balls into the box, it would be better to approach the opponents' goal with combinations. But in France we will meet teams will attack us, not like some of the defensive teams we have met recently."

Georgia coach Kakhaber Tskhadadze hailed his side for its plucky performance, claiming that it indicates just how far it has come over the course of qualification.

"I need to thank my players for a great performance. I am very proud of my team, because we gave the world champions a run for their money," he said.

"I don't think that any other opponent has created more chances against them during this campaign. It was important for me to see that we have developed.

"My first match as coach was against Germany in Tbilisi and today we proved that we are headed in the right direction. This was the best match since I took over."

Source Omnisport