Low hoping for referee 'clamp down'
12:24am Tuesday 8th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Germany coach Joachim Low has called on the referee for Tuesday's semi-final with Brazil to crack down on the "brutal" fouls that were seen in the hosts' previous game.
Low highlighted the Brazil v Colombia quarter-final where Neymar suffered a fractured vertebrae and Colombia's James Rodriguez was the victim of a number of nasty fouls.
He was amazed the Spanish referee of that match did not show any red cards - there were 54 fouls, 31 committed by Brazil - and has called on Mexican official Marco Antonio Rodriguez to take a tough line in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte.
Low told a press conference: "I hope the referee tomorrow, Mr Rodriguez from Mexico, will clamp down on things. That physical energy in the match against Colombia went beyond the limits in Europe. When I saw that match...in Europe, 22 players wouldn't have ended that match.
"There were brutal fouls. People blocking opponents however they could. It was really exaggerated. That's what we saw on the pitch, so I hope these really brutal and crude fouls are stopped, or we won't see players like [Lionel] Messi, [Mesut] Ozil or Neymar, and we'll just see players who go out to destroy.
"This is a World Cup that's full of dynamism and physical force, but I've seen matches where the limits have been surpassed.
"Colombia against Brazil was a real fight with numerous fouls from both sides, not just the one foul against Neymar, but many others as well.
"The actual playing time was only 38 or 39 minutes, there were so many breaks in play. I don't think players and fans like the match being constantly stopped.
"Players have been warned what would earn them a yellow or a red card but you saw in the Colombia match many fouls from behind which were really dangerous for the players. You have to protect the players when you're a referee."
Low has dismissed any notion that the absence of Neymar will mortally wound Brazil's hopes and said he was "awfully sorry" the Barcelona star's serious injury will keep him out.
He added: "You shouldn't believe the absence of Neymar or Thiago Silva will be a big disadvantage for Brazil. Dante won't deliver a bad match against Germany. He's an excellent player, and others will feel invigorated.
"You've seen teams lose some players and others accept the responsibility. They'll be on the pitch fighting for Neymar and the nation to make sure they reach the final.
"We are awfully sorry for Neymar and the Brazilian team, he has been injured in a terrible situation, and we would have delighted to have seen him on the pitch, we wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery."
Spain's early exit from the World Cup has seen Germany overtake them to become the world No 1 in FIFA's rankings. Low, however, said his squad would pay little heed to that.
He said: "I realised that, after Spain left, we'd be No 1 in the FIFA rankings, but that's just statistics. They're not relevant. We're concentrating on this match.
"The energy I've seen in the team remains outstanding. The team is totally focused and concentrated on the game ahead.
"Those players who played against France had to go to the limit, so we've been trying to regenerate and recuperate them. I just hope the players are full of new energy."