Löw no-show at Germany news conference

BLOEMFONTEIN - Germany coach Joachim Low skipped a scheduled news conference ahead of Sunday's World Cup second round match against England but his team denied it was in protest at not being allowed to train at the stadium.

Germany and England were told they could not stage their final pre-match training session at the Free State Stadium to preserve the quality of the pitch which had been used the day before in the Switzerland v Honduras match.

"It is not a protest," said goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke on Saturday, when asked whether Low's failure to appear and abide by FIFA rules was a form of protest at not being allowed to train in the stadium.

Kopke, who had stepped in at the last minute, said it was purely a scheduling issue and the team had only just finished training so he had come over from the nearby university pitch to attend the news conference.

A FIFA official at the start of the news conference said according to the world football's governing body's rules, the team's coach and one player had to attend the pre-game news conference.

This is the second time in this tournament Germany were told they could not train on the pitch where they are set to play the next day.

FIFA had told Germany and Serbia they could not use the stadium in Port Elizabeth for pre-match training due to heavy rain the days before their Group D encounter which Serbia went on to win.

Low's England counterpart, Fabio Capello, appeared in a news conference minutes later alongside captain Steven Gerrard.

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