German experiment successful as World Cup year awaits

Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:32am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew refused to call his side that beat England 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday a reserve team despite eight changes and the way they controlled the friendly proved him right.

It was clear the 53-year-old was eager to experiment ahead of next year's World Cup in Brazil, resting the likes of captain Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer following Friday's 1-1 draw in Italy.

He now looks to have a large number of players battle-ready and on call when he decides on his squad for June's tournament.

"I think the team had a good performance after eight changes from the Italy game so I am quite satisfied," Loew, whose team cruised to the World Cup with nine wins and a draw in the qualifiers, told reporters.

"We have only one preparation game left (against Chile) and we know what the sticking points are so we will address them."

There could be two or three more friendlies next year but officials said plans would be finalized after next month's draw.

"I go to the World Cup draw with a mix of excitement and curiosity, waiting to discover who we are playing and where, and it's the same with the players," Loew added.

As part of his experiments, Roman Weidenfeller became the oldest German goalkeeper to make an international debut at the age of 33 and Loew was full of praise for the Borussia Dortmund player, consistently overlooked in recent years.   Continued...

Germany's coach Joachim Loew (R) celebrates nex to England's manager Roy Hodgson after their international friendly soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh