The Telegraph
Saturday , July 12 , 2014
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‘Decided not to pile on Brazil agony’

Santo Andre: Germany’s players agreed at half-time during their 7-1 World Cup semi-final win over Brazil, to refrain from showboating to avoid humiliating the hosts, Thomas Mueller said on Friday.

Germany took a 5-0 lead at the break in Tuesday’s match in Belo Horizonte and Mueller said the players, not the coaches, decided they would not pile on the agony in the second half.

“With the score the way it was, we said we should avoid being arrogant and must refrain from humiliating the opponent,” he said, adding that they urged everyone to avoid fancy passes or trick shots on goal “or any nonsense like that”.

“But that’s something obvious,” he said. “Yes, there was this agreement and it came from the players themselves. We decided not to pile on Brazil’s agony.” Substitute Andre Schuerrle scored twice in the second half.

Meanwhile, captain Philipp Lahm and Mueller sounded supremely confident that their team would be able to neutralise Lionel Messi and win the World Cup on Sunday.

Sounding at times as if they had already won the match, the two players told reporters at their team base that Germany have more talent, more experience, an extra day’s rest and more than enough confidence to beat Argentina the way they did in the 1990 final and the quarter-finals in 2006 and 2010.

“We’re here to win the World Cup,” said Lahm. “We all enjoyed watching the (Argentina-Netherlands) semi-final on TV and it didn’t matter to us at all who we’d play in the final.”

Lahm said Germany players not only have more experience in the latter rounds of World Cup, that will help on Sunday, but also every player on the team has played in the finals of the Champions League, German Cup or FA Cup final in England.

“The experience we’ve got all the way through our team is definitely an edge for us,” he said.

“A lot of our players have experience in important final matches with their clubs and it doesn’t always matter if they won or lost. I think that the experience everyone on our team has is definitely important for a tournament like this.”

Mueller and Lahm even answered questions at times about how they planned to celebrate the victory on Sunday.

Mueller said that there was an abundance of confidence on the team with its “golden generation” that has made it to at least the semi-finals of the last four World Cups and the last three European Championship.

“I’ve been telling friends back in Germany on the phone that we’re going all out here so that you can keep having those big barbecue parties to celebrate during the best time of the year,” said Mueller, who also had no doubt about the outcome on Sunday.

“I’m not expecting that we’ll be ahead 5-0 at half-time again like against Brazil, even though that would be nice,” Mueller said, reflecting a growing smugness and optimism back home in Germany — that it’s no longer a question of “If” but only a matter of “by how many goals” they’ll win.

Mueller said the team are looking forward to returning to Rio de Janeiro for the final after beating France there in the quarter-final, but said they’re not going to see the tourist attractions.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be going to Rio to take a guided tour or to get to know the magic of the city,” he said.

“There’s only one reason to go there. We are going to Rio to pick up the World Cup. We know what we have to do.”

Mueller, who has five World Cup goals here, said scoring again in the final would help the team beat Argentina as well as help him win a second Golden Boot for most goals scored after he won it in 2010 with five goals.

“If I score, that’ll help in both competitions,” he said, but added winning the World Cup was more important to him. Mueller offered his ideas on how to stop four-time World Footballer Messi.

“We’ve all got to stay on his heels and try to keep disrupting him. As soon as he gets away from one of us, the next guy has to jump in and be on him and so on until we get the ball back. It’s important to defend collectively as a team against him but without losing sight of the other Argentina players.”

Mueller, however, said that the final may not be as easy as the win against Brazil.

“If we win easy it would be nice, but it’s probably going to be tight like it was against Algeria or France.”

Should Germany triumph in Rio, they will return to Germany for a reception in Berlin on Tuesday, along the so-called fan mile linking the Brandenburg Gate and the Siegessaule.

“We’re very grateful for the support of our fans,” said the national team’s manager Oliver Bierhoff.