RECIFE, Brazil – If you were starting to believe that the United States and Germany actually have an agreement to play to a draw Thursday and guarantee their spots in the World Cup's round of 16, you can forget it. It's not happening.
German coach Joachim Loew won't let it happen.
A day after U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann dispelled any notion that the fix was in for both teams to go through, Lowe did his part to end speculation that he and his former boss (and good friend) have a handshake deal to assure qualification for the knockout stage.
"This is not a topic for Jurgen Klinsmann or myself," Loew said Wednesday. "We don't discuss this anymore because both coaches have a purpose of going to the pitch and win."
"When you want to draw, it never works. It's impossible. Always, the aim is to win the match."
A tie in Thursday's group finale at Arena Pernambuco would keep the Germans and Americans level with five points each. Germany would finish atop Group G, aka the Group of Death, due to superior goal differential (plus 4 to the U.S.'s plus one).
The Germans would gain the benefit of avoiding likely Group H winner Belgium, a popular darkhorse pick to win it all before the tournament, and face either Algeria, Russia or South Korea in the next round.
Loew did not want to hear how such a matchup would help Germany.
"We don't want to avoid anybody," Loew said. "We are not going to speculate what happens if we do this or what happens if we do that. We have to face whatever team we have."
"We don't have to avoid Belgium. It doesn't matter. We will have to beat all teams [to win the championship] eventually."
Loew's mood changed when he was asked about his friendship with Klinsmann, who hired Loew as his top assistant after becoming head coach of the German national team. Loew took over for Klinsmann after they led Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup. The two have maintained what Loew called a "trustworthy relationship," often meeting up for lunch and dinner whenever they can to talk about their passion – soccer.
"Our relationship is excellent," Lowe said. "And we will continue to have a great relationship regardless of the result tomorrow."
The U.S. has had one fewer day than Germany – 27 hours to be exact – to recover from its previous game, Sunday's physically and emotionally draining 2-2 draw with Portugal. But Loew actually sees the Americans having a bigger edge: Major League Soccer's schedule, which allows the U.S.'s domestic-based players to be more fresh than European-based players who toil from August to May.
"They are very well-prepared and they are fit. They might have an advantage that their league doesn't last 11 months," Loew said. "Also, Jurgen already had his team in January and they were working together since then. This is another advantage. That's why they are at an excellent physical level."