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Löw and Germany set sights high

Published: Sunday 23 February 2014, 17.21CET
With Joachim Löw aiming for first place "as we always hope to win", the Republic of Ireland, Poland and Scotland agree that three-time champions are Group D's team to beat.

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Published: Sunday 23 February 2014, 17.21CET

Löw and Germany set sights high

With Joachim Löw aiming for first place "as we always hope to win", the Republic of Ireland, Poland and Scotland agree that three-time champions are Group D's team to beat.

Joachim Löw, Germany coach
From a sporting point of view it is an interesting group, with Germany, Georgia, Scotland, Ireland and Poland. It's an even group, and from the atmosphere point of view, a good group. There are some Polish players playing in the Bundesliga, and then with Scotland or Ireland, wherever you play there is always a great atmosphere. So I think it is an interesting group. We don't necessarily want to say [Germany are favourites] but of course everybody is saying that. We always hope to win the group in all the qualification competitions we take part in, to qualify directly and set things straight immediately.

[Scotland and Ireland] play a lot with their hearts, and are very dynamic and passionate. They play for their country and they know how to fight; even if they are 2-0 down, they never give up. That makes it difficult, and they are always very intense matches, where you have to go to your limit to manage to beat them. I actually don't know much about Gibraltar and their team. It's their first time participating. They play in Faro in Portugal, I think, and we are excited to see what will happen against them.

Martin O'Neill, Republic of Ireland manager
It's a difficult group but exciting nevertheless. The matches against Scotland will be great occasions and I'm sure Gordon Strachan will be as excited as I am. It's great, it's tough – there's other groups we might have preferred to be in but let's get on with it. Germany you would say are the outstanding side in the group but there's plenty to fight for. Let's go positively into the group, and let's go for it. It looks like a group, Germany apart, where teams might take points off each other, so it'll be interesting right to the end. It's utopia to get to the final – particularly out of this group.

Adam Nawałka, Poland coach
It's not my group of dreams. My first thought is that of course Germany are the favourites, but other teams have equal chances to qualify. It is interesting that we will fight to reach the EURO 2016 finals with teams we will face in upcoming friendlies, against Scotland in March and Germany in May, while a few months ago we had a friendly against Ireland, so we will know each other quite well. The most important thing is to believe in ourselves and work hard. Logistically we are already prepared for this qualification. Now it is time to prepare ourselves on the football side.

Gordon Strachan, Scotland manager
Every tie there's something in it – Germany are one of the best teams in the world, so it is exciting. It should excite anybody; anybody who supports Scotland, it's a terrific, terrific draw. I've just seen Martin O'Neill and they're excited as well, but we're competitive; we're friendly just now but the gloves will come off. You never know how it's going to fluctuate over the next couple of years with form, injuries. If we can keep everybody fit we've got a chance. If we can keep our momentum going that would be great but we know there'll be games that will disappoint us and we'll have to deal with that. It must be great for the players to sit there just now and think 'I would love to play in that game and that game, that will be a great game,' so there's games to test the players. I think if we play to the level we can play and where we want to go to, we can definitely qualify.

Guram Kashia, Georgia defender
Germany are clear favourites who have chances to take 100% of points from every opponent. Other teams, including Ireland, Scotland, Poland and us, will fight for second place. I think we will all be in Germany status against Gibraltar and so it is very important how many points we will get in matches against each other. We are in a very interesting situation as I can't say we have a weak group, but it's not so strong so that we couldn't qualify for EURO 2016.

Allen Bula, Gibraltar coach
It's definitely been a long road [to get here]. Finally here, it looked a bit surreal, but now it's reality. I did get one of my wishes: I got Germany. From the very earlier stages leading up to the EURO qualifying draw I always had this feeling we'd meet them, and for it to actually happen is fantastic for Gibraltar. We're in a very tough group, but whichever one we got was going to be tough. But it's great, playing against Germany, such a big nation in football, and then we've got the likes of Republic of Ireland and Scotland. So we're just over the moon about it. Now we've seen the group and probably reality has hit everyone back in Gibraltar, we need to work extra hard, because we're coming up against giants, and we need to be very competitive. We need to show Europe that we deserve to be here and that we can give some scares along the way. Basically it will be very, very hard work, and we're definitely going out to try and make some points.

Last updated: 05/06/15 1.52CET

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