Just one day remains until Die Mannschaft get underway at the World Cup in Russia. With just over 24 hours on the clock, we spoke to Joachim Löw about the personnel in the squad, Germany’s mentality when it comes to opening game and Manuel Neuer. Julian Draxler brought an internal perspective from inside the squad.
… Julian Draxler: I can say this – Julian will start tomorrow. Last year, he was captain at the Confed Cup. I think he came on leaps and bounds there in terms of his personality and professionalism. Taking responsibility for the younger players did him the world of good. I’m a fan of his attributes. In recent months, he’s been in great form in a Germany shirt. He can bring a lot to the team and I can bank on that.
… the squad news before the Mexico game: Everyone is fit. Mesut Özil has trained twice this week. He’s ready to feature and has made a good impression. There are two or three things to think about but I’ll always talk to the team about it before anyone else.
… the Germany mentality in opening games: We’ve won many opening games in the past. In my time here, we’ve previously had issues in friendlies or training but everything we do is focused on the first game. We’ve always put in a good performances and that’s to do with our self-confidence. I hope that’s how it plays out tomorrow too, although we’re facing an incredibly strong opponent.
… Manuel Neuer: I’ve been watching him closely all week. He’s taken part in every training session in the training camp and has been calm, solid and confident throughout. Both games have definitely helped him to get ready by giving him match practice. That’s the Manuel Neuer that we know.
… the poor record of reigning champions at World Cups: No one has managed to defend the trophy for many years as other teams improve and the previous winners often worsen. We have both hunger and ambition. Our excitement continues to grow as we get closer. Even those who were there in 2010 feel that excitement still. There’s nothing better than a World Cup. Tomorrow, we want to make a statement against Mexico. We have the desire to win the game. We’re very ambitious.
… the opener against Mexico: It’s important to start the tournament well. We’re all raring to go. We want to start the competition with a win. Mexico have a strong team that can hurt you. We mustn’t underestimate them. However, when we show our quality, I’m convinced we’ll win.
… the Confed Cup meeting between the two sides: The Confed Cup is a different kettle of fish to a World Cup. You can’t over-exaggerate the semi-final 4-1 win. It’s a new game and they have a new head coach, Sure, we discovered a vulnerability back then but the game will be completely different.
… the mood in the squad: We’re all focused. There’s a good atmosphere. Lots is being made of small things than needs to be. We can’t wait for the tournament to get underway.
… two generations of player in the team: After the World Cup, we lost some important players and some unbelievable young players have come into the team from the Confed Cup. Sure, it’s important to have the experience of several other World Cup winner but it’s not like there are two groups in the team or anything. We’ll be a team and see how far we get.