Football

Loew impressed by youngsters' desire

Germany coach says win over Australia shows his inexperienced team are fired up to shine in Confed Cup

World champions Germany, who brought a second-string side to the Confederations Cup, were made to sweat for a 3-2 victory over Australia in their Group B opener yesterday morning (Singapore time).

With half a dozen key players rested this summer ahead of next year's World Cup title defence in Russia, Germany coach Joachim Loew opted to give several untested players a chance to prove themselves in this dress rehearsal.

His team would have had a far easier afternoon on the Black Sea if not for their wasteful finishing.

Loew told fifa.com: "Given that we've been together for only 10 days, they did very well.

"A lot of energy has built up in this team in a very short space of time.

"The players take on board what we tell them. They want to make this tournament their tournament. The teamwork and spirit are very good."

The Germans were in control from the start, with Borussia Moenchengladback attacker Lars Stindl converting a perfectly timed cut-back from Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt to put them ahead in the fifth minute.

They squandered a bagful of chances in a one-sided first half with Brandt, Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, Hoffenheim forward Sandro Wagner all coming close.

They were punished when Australia's Tommy Rogic scored out of nowhere, his initial off-target shot bouncing off a defender's back and the rebound slipping in under goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The Socceroos' joy lasted only three minutes though, as Germany winger Julian Draxler converted a penalty just before half-time to put them back in the driver's seat.

Goretzka grabbed his team's third goal shortly after the break, but the Germans allowed Australia to narrow the deficit when Leno let a shot slip out of his hands, presenting Tomi Juric with a tap-in.

Germany also hit the post late in the game.

LOST THEIR WAY

Loew admitted that his side lost their way after a bright start.

He said: "We played a really good first half but, after an hour, we lost the plot a bit. But you can still feel the commitment of this young team.

"They are hungry, they want to win matches, have the courage to play attacking football.

"For many, it was the first game in such a tournament, so I am satisfied."

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was equally pleased with his side's performance despite the defeat.

He said: "First half, (the Germans) were too good for us, and we struggled to control the game. We made it too easy for them.

"Second half was better.

"I thought we matched them for periods of the game and the character and resilience they showed is unquestionable."

The Germans next play Chile on Friday morning, a few hours after Australia take on Cameroon. - WIRE SERVICES

FIXTURES

TONIGHT

  • Russia v Portugal (11pm)

TOMORROW

  • Mexico v New Zealand (2am)
  • Cameroon v Australia (11pm)
World CupGermanyAustralia