Low shrugs off Ballack criticism

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Germany head coach Joachim Low says criticism from former captain Michael Ballack over the side's showing at the Euro 2016 makes him smile.

The Germans are in pole position to qualify for the last 16, as they top the group with four points, after registering a 2-0 win over Ukraine in the opening match and 0-0 draw with Poland in the second.

Despite that, the former Chelsea anchorman criticised Low's men for their lack of leadership and character in the competition.

"Things repeat themselves so much," Low told reporters.

"The discussion conjures a smile from me. In 2014 there was the discussion that we have no leading players.

"Then we were world champions and they were suddenly the great leading players. Now we play a 0-0 and have this discussion again. The players have great leadership."

Low gave his players time to recharge on Saturday, ahead of their last Group C clash with Northern Ireland at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

"We'd planned to have this day off. It's important to switch off sometimes as well," he added. "It is important that players get away from it completely and clear your head.

"The team is making a good impression in terms of fitness. We want to beat Northern Ireland. They have unbelievable fighting spirit and energy. They cover so much ground."