Germany v Portugal: Manuel Neuer calls for Germans to use the weight of expectation to their advantage in the hunt for a fourth World Cup
Germany get their campaign underway against Portugal today with hopes of victory in their 100th World Cup match putting pressure on Joachim Low's side to win
Monday 16 June 2014
Germany will become the first country to complete a century of World Cup games when they take on Portugal in their opening Group G fixture today but Joachim Low’s men are under pressure to make history of a different kind in Brazil.
You have to go back to Euro 96 for the last time the three-times World Cup winners lifted a trophy and the pressure to end this drought is building, according to Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
“In Germany, the expectation rises as the tournaments go by,” admitted the Bayern Munich player, who hopes it can spur the team to achieve great things. “As far as I am concerned, I need that kind of pressure. I like these large tournaments – they’re the greatest in football history and I believe we are a country that can get the best out of ourselves in a tournament environment. We shouldn’t see it as negative pressure but use fans’ expectations to inspire us.”
Germany have come close several times under coach Low, who has steered them to the Euro 2008 final and the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. After those near-misses, Low too is under pressure to deliver but he is encouraged by the spirit in the German camp and the blend of players at this disposal. “I believe we have an excellent balance of experienced players and young players,” he said.
“If we work well as a team, if we defend well and take our opportunities in attack, I believe we have great opportunity to make it really far in this tournament.
“These days of preparation have been important,” added Low who has seen fitness doubts over a number of key players clear. “We have been able to add to the spirit of the team, which has really come together. The team know exactly what is at stake.”
And however far they go, one German player in particular may achieve his own slice of history in Brazil with striker Miroslav Klose one goal short of equalling the 15-goal World Cup scoring record of Ronaldo. “He knows no fear, he is not impressed by the hype surrounding the tournament, I believe he has vital role,” added Low. Klose will not be the only one if Germany really are to end their long wait.
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