Germany coach Rudi Voller has warned his players to guard against complacency when they commence their EURO 2004 qualifying campaign.
A wave of euphoria swept the country after Germany reached the World Cup final but Voller has been quick to remind his players that they will have to be at their best if they are to qualify for the Eurpean Championship finals in Portugal in two years time.
Speaking to Kicker magazine ahead of Germany’s friendly against Bulgaria on August 21, Voller said he would introduce some younger players to what was an ageing World Cup squad.
‘Anyone who thinks that everything will be automatic from now on because we were World Cup runners-up will hear a brutally different opinion from me,’ Voller said.
Germany confounded their critics by their performances in South Korea and Japan, reaching the final before losing 2-0 to Brazil. However, Voller was keen to stress that their achievements in Asia count for nothing now that another qualifying campaign is underway.
‘I will take very hard measures against anyone taking a casual approach,’ he added. ‘We have to play at the top of our game to be successful. Everyone has to go all out.’
‘As we have in the past, we will continue to carry forward the process of replacing older players with young talent,’ he said.
‘It is logical that we will keep an especially close eye on those players we have included in the past.’ That did not mean, however, players had an automatic spot.
‘There are no free tickets,’ he said.