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Players and coach 'protest' about not being allowed to train on pitch...

Germany coach Joachim Low failed to show up to the official press conference ahead of his sides World Cup 2010 last 16 clash against England on Sunday.

There were also no players present, breaking FIFA regulations, which left goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke to conduct the briefing alone.

There was speculation that Germany were boycotting the media as result of not being allowed to train on the Free State Stadium pitch. Instead, the Group D winners were ordered to use the facilities of the local university complex before attending the press conference.

However, Kopke dismissed those claims, telling reporters: "This is not a protest at all. People were not able to get here on time.

"We were not able to use the stadium. We had to use another site and tried to be punctual [for the press conference]."

Kopke, the hero of the Euro '96 penalty shoot-out victory over England was also asked about the prospect of the game going to penalties.

"I think it would be great not to have a penalty shoot-out but if we have to go for it we are prepared," he added. 

"Manuel Neuer will get the information he needs in order to take us into the quarter-finals.

"We practice penalties - sometimes more, sometimes less. You can't simulate this situation in your practice. In the match, you have 120 minutes behind you, the atmosphere is tense, so it's hard to simulate the situation."

Leading up to the game in Bloemfontain, Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer claimed England were 'stupid', but Kopke distanced himself from those comments.

"Well I don't know what the actual wording was," he told reporters.
"He was probably trying to say that he would have liked such a fixture to come later down the road. We have seen lots of surprises in the group stage and I would have thought England would have taken first place in their group."

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