World Cup

Thursday 24 July 2014

Manuel Neuer has the skills to become a midfield general - Joachim Low

Published 04/07/2014|07:46

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Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer challenges Algeria's Islam Slimani during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (BRAZIL  - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer challenges Algeria's Islam Slimani during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre

Germany boss Joachim Low claims goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is so technically good he could even play in midfield.

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Neuer played a key role against Algeria, often operating as a sweeper a long way outside of his area, and his skills could be vital when Germany meet France in the World Cup quarter-final in the Maracana on Friday.

Low said: "If a team tries to play high the way we did against USA and Algeria the keeper cannot just stay in his box.

"Manuel Neuer has the same technical skills as the others, he could play in the midfield, he also has great awareness and that's why we are happy for him to take these risks, and that's why he's so valuable.

"He can basically be a player behind the defence."

Low confirmed that defender Mats Hummels is available after an illness and the Borussia Dortmund centre-back is expected to return with right-back Shkodran Mustafi out injured.

The only uncertainty is whether Philipp Lahm plays as right-back or as a holding midfielder.

The quarter-final will see France's unhappy history against Germany highlighted once more.

Not since 1958 have France emerged victorious, while there are still sore feelings over the infamous 1982 semi-final when West Germany won on penalties but only after France defender Patrick Battiston suffered a broken neck in a challenge by keeper Harald Schumacher that went unpunished.

France's Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris said Les Bleus will be looking to write a new page of history - and that his team-mates are approaching the match without trepidation but with "sheer enjoyment".

He told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: "We are not afraid of anything - we know full well that in one match just about anything is possible including for this to be our last one in the World Cup.

"But but there is no fear, it's a real pleasure, a sheer joy to play Germany.

"We want to win this match for our friends, our families, for France!

"There is a long history between both nations but as far as we are concerned we live for the present moment, we want to write our own history."

France coach Didier Deschamps has Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho fit again and that might mean Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny losing his place.

Another Arsenal player, Olivier Giroud, may also start on the bench after his partnership with Karim Benzema failed to spark against Nigeria.

France looked much more incisive when Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann came on for Giroud and played on the left, allowing Benzema to push forward, and that is likely to be Deschamps' plan from the start against Germany.

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