Sport Soccer

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Lahm: I can understand why the German fans booed us

Published 06/03/2014 | 10:38

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Germanys Philipp Lahm in action during the international soccer friendly match against Chile.
Germanys Philipp Lahm in action during the international soccer friendly match against Chile.

German captain Philipp Lahm says he can understand the frustrations of German supporters as they stutrterd to a lacklustre victory over Chile last night.

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The home side were booed off after failing to impress in victory over fellow World Cup side Chile as the South Americans dominated their hosts in Wednesday's friendly.

With Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez in the thick of things, the enterprising Chileans showed why they finished third in the South American qualifying group for the World Cup.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli's side had the Germans under pressure for long spells and created 17 shots to the Germans' seven.

The corner count of Chile's 14 to Germany's four told its own tale.

"We go home a little sad," said Sampaoli. "The result wasn't what we imagined, but the performance gives us many positive insights.

"We have shown that we can compete against one of the best teams. We were tactically very good, but unfortunately we did not score."

The hosts enjoyed only a brief period of pressure in the first-half which led to Mario Goetze's 16th-minute winner.

"That was a lucky win. I can understand the jeers and whistles," said Lahm afterwards.

"People pay good money to watch us and it's clear that we have a lot of work to do before the World Cup. But we always prepare well for a World Cup, so I am not worried."

Chile were only denied an equaliser with an hour gone by the woodwork when Valencia's Eduardo Vargas clattered the crossbar with Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer well beaten.

"A win's a win, Chile were really good," said German vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.

"We didn't use our chances and we really have to improve but Chile are after all one of the best teams in South America."

In the match build-up, Germany coach Joachim Loew had insisted "the clock is ticking" for his squad to prove their form 99 days before the World Cup starts.

But Loew has more questions than answers from his final friendly before naming his provisional World Cup squad on May 8 and his side were booed off the Stuttgart pitch.

Lahm did well in a solid midfield partnership alongside Bayern Munich team-mate Schweinsteiger, but that was one of Germany's few bright spots.

Despite Chile's strong start, Germany took the lead when Arsenal's Mesut Ozil jinxed his way through the Chilean defence.

His brief stumble caught the Chilean defenders out and he recovered to find Goetze unmarked for the Bayern Munich midfielder to fire home.

Chile's best first-half chances came just before the break as midfielder Charles Aranguiz fired wide under intense pressure from Germany defender Kevin Grosskreutz.

Then Juventus' Arturo Vidal fired over the bar moments later.

The Chileans found plenty of holes to exploit in the German defence, especially down the flanks.

There was no new record for Miroslav Klose who is poised on 68 goals for Germany having equalled Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record, and the 35-year-old made way for Chelsea's Andre Schuerrle after the break.

Chile dominated the second half with Vargas hitting the crossbar after Sanchez's cross.

Sanchez was a constant thorn in the side of the German defence and Neuer then had to pull off a point blank save to deny Vidal.

Schweinsteiger had a great chance late on and was a tireless presence in Germany's midfield despite his recent return from injury.

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski came off the bench to put pressure on Johnny Herrera when he charged down a clearance in the dying stages as Germany held on.

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