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Lothar predicts German victory

Lionel Messi, during a training session, on Sunday

Rio de Janeiro: As captain, Lothar Matthaeus lifted the most precious trophy in world football in 1990. No other German skipper has achieved that since. In Brazil this time around, Germany have reached the semi-finals for the fourth time in succession, and want to go home with the Cup.

Matthaeus, who has appeared in a record 25 World Cup matches, believes the long-awaited success is just around the corner.

“Germany aren’t playing the same attractive football they did at the previous two World Cup finals. But Joachim Loew has learnt a thing or two. You don’t win titles playing pretty football.

“And the target for this German team is to win the World Cup in Brazil. That’s why we’re seeing a somewhat reserved approach,” he said in an interview to Fifa’s official website.

“You only have to think about the four central defenders playing in the back four, with Philipp Lahm in the holding role. Germany had a few problems in the run-in. Important players were injured — like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Miroslav Klose too. So Loew probably felt he had to try something else and when you look at the results, it’s worked really well so far.”

Matthaeus sounded confident about the semi-final result. I’m patriotic and I don’t think anyone will hold that against me. We know it will be a difficult game and we’re not the favourites. But we will win 2-1 and when I say we, I mean Germany,” he opined.

Asked whether Loew was right in playing Philipp Lahm as a full back against France, he said: Loew is intelligent. Obviously, it also depends on circumstances. He saw Schweinsteiger and Khedira are fit again and were gradually recapturing their form. He must have been convinced enough to play Lahm in defence.” (agencies)