The Telegraph
Sunday , July 6 , 2014
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‘Want to end 3rd-place rut’

Rio de Janeiro: Germany captain Philipp Lahm is desperate to avoid his side becoming the eternal third place team of the World Cup as they plot how to win against Brazil in the semi-final.

While celebrating having beaten France 1-0 in Friday’s quarter final, courtesy Mats Hummels’ early strike, Lahm knows a defeat at the hands of the hosts on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte would condemn his team to a third straight appearance in the play-off for the third and fourth place.

“I really do not need that. It’s something I want to rule out. We want to end this (third place) rut,” quipped Lahm, who was on the losing side in semi-finals at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals.

“We definitely want more, that (game against France) wasn’t our last appearance in Rio.”

Lahm is unconcerned by the way the Germans secured victory against the French. “We’re in the semi-finals, so who cares about anything else!" he retorted.

“It wasn’t easy, especially not in the sun, but we worked well as a team and the team comes first. We should, maybe, have made it 2-0. We wasted a great counter-attack, so that meant it remained tight to the end.

“But it was a good performance for us and we’re in the semis. It was a 50-50 game, but we got the goal first and then they had to do all the work.

“At the quarter finals of a World Cup, you never come across a side that has no chance against you.”

Germany have now reached the semi-finals at 13 of the 20 World Cup finals and France ’98 was the last time they failed to reach the last-four stage.

Coach Joachim Loew has urged his players “to take the next step” in their bid to end a 24-year wait for a fourth World Cup title by knocking out Brazil, who would be without Neymar and captain Thiago Silva. “We’ll see how things go now, only top teams reach the semi-finals, but we have now won 28 of our last 31 competitive matches,” said Loew.

“It needs a special performance to permanently be in the last four, but now we are trying to take the next step. The team is established, stable and can handle a game, just as they did against Algeria.”