Ger­many are ready to be put on the spot

World cham­pi­ons hope to see off Mexico in semi-fi­nal

The National - News - Sport - - CONFEDERATIONS CUP -

Ger­many are the kings of the penalty shoot-out – but the world cham­pi­ons hope to see off Mexico in to­day’s Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup semi-fi­nal with­out need­ing dreaded spot kicks.

The Germans have won all five penalty shoot-outs they have faced since 1976 at ei­ther World Cup fi­nals or Euro­pean cham­pi­onships.

Joachim Low’s team face the Mex­i­cans in Sochi for a place in Sun­day’s fi­nal in Saint Peters­burg.

Hav­ing won their Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup group, Ger­many are on a 13-match un­beaten run, dat­ing back just un­der a year to their Euro 2016 semi-fi­nal de­feat to hosts France.

Left-back Jonas Hec­tor said Ger­many’s young guns have not yet prac­tised spot-kicks and hope to beat Mexico over the 90 min­utes. “We would like to avoid this sit­u­a­tion [penal­ties],” ad­mit­ted Hec­tor. “We haven’t specif­i­cally trained for it and we’ll take it as it comes.” Nev­er­the­less, the Germans seem to have penalty-tak­ing in their blood.

Their Un­der-21 team beat Eng­land 4-3 on penal­ties on Tues­day to book their place in to­mor­row’s fi­nal at the Euro­pean cham­pi­onships in Poland.

Low said he does not have a list of his top five penalty tak­ers.

“Some­times the play­ers prac­tise af­ter train­ing, but you can’t train for what will hap­pen on the night,” the Ger­man man­ager said.

“If it hap­pens, I will look at the faces of my play­ers af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle, take into ac­count who is ready and who has missed them in the past, then make a de­ci­sion.” The Germans ex­pect a tough test against Mexico’s come­back kings. The Mex­i­cans came from be­hind in all three of their group matches, beat­ing both New Zealand and Rus­sia 2-1 af­ter draw­ing 2-2 with Por­tu­gal, when they twice equalised.

“It will be ag­gres­sive in a pos­i­tive sense, it is how they have been play­ing for years,” Low

Ger­many de­fender Jonas Hec­tor On tak­ing penal­ties

said. “They hunt the ball with all their play­ers and when they have it, they play it deep quickly.” Mexico man­ager Juan Car­los Oso­rio, who has chopped and changed his side so far, will be with­out sus­pended cap­tain An­dres Guardado. Low has promised changes with for­ward Lars Stindl, who has scored twice so far in Rus­sia, ex­pected to re­turn along with left-back Hec­tor. With Manuel Neuer miss­ing the tour­na­ment af­ter foot surgery, Low says Barcelona’s Marc-An­dre ter Ste­gen will be Ger­many’s goal­keeper for the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion. The Germans beat Mexico 4-3 when the teams last met in the third-place play-off at the 2005 Con­fed Cup in Ger­many.

They make no se­cret of their con­fi­dence and ex­pect to reach Sun­day’s fi­nal.

“I think in terms of gut feel­ing, we’re head­ing to St Peters­burg,” said Low.

We haven’t specif­i­cally trained for it and we’ll take it as it comes

Sergei Il­nit­sky / EPA

Ger­many’s Jonas Hec­tor.

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