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German ire at credit rating

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER has demanded more recognition for Germany's powerful showing in recent major tournaments after reaching the Euro 2012 semi-finals in June, their fourth successive last-four spot or better in major tournaments.

Schweinsteiger, criticised for playing in the European Championships despite nursing an injury picked up in Bayern Munich's Champions League final defeat by Chelsea, said Germany's overall record was very successful.

"(Semi-final finishes) should not be taken for granted," the holding midfielder told reporters.

"We did not drop a point in the qualifiers, we beat top 10 teams in our group and then lost just one game.

"I think it is a pity, it is not always fair but that is the way it is. There are other teams who have targets and it is not easy to keep winning," Schweinsteiger said.

Germany completed their first ever perfect Euro group stage with wins over Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark before beating Greece in the quarter-finals for their 14th successive victory in competitive games.

They had also won 10 out of 10 qualifiers for a new German record.

"I don't think everything is bad, not many teams can claim to have such a track record.

"I think the respect is missing a bit," Schweinsteiger said. "It is nowhere written down that we are going to win every game.

"I did everything to reach that Champions League final and (for the Euros) I had little time to recuperate," said the 28-year-old, who missed his team's first two 2014 World Cup qualifiers in September, but will be captain against Ireland on Friday with Philipp Lahm suspended.

"Two or three weeks more maybe would have been even better for the injury to be cured but I think I gave everything I got at the Euro. Unfortunately in one game against a great team - Italy - we lost.



Healthy

"The team is working well and that means I can now focus more on my game," he said. "I feel fit and healthy."

Schweinsteiger stands by the controversial comments he made about his German team-mates at Euro 2012, insisting that they were said with the best intentions.

The Germany vice-captain claimed that not everybody in Joachim Low's squad seemed happy when the team scored, and alleged that he felt a stronger spirit at club level with Bayern Munich.

"I don't want anything bad, I just want us to get better and that the very last cog turns as well so that we can win against the big nations," he said.

"It was just the way I perceived things. It should not be anything negative or (seen as a) criticism of the national team. I just want us to get better and that we all sacrifice ourselves for a big, common goal.

"I stick to my opinion, but I have already discussed it with (general manager) Oliver Bierhoff and the national team coach.

"There is not really much else to say - I am surprised with the attention it received. There are more important things."

Germany last visited Dublin for a European Championship qualifier in 2007 and Schweinsteiger still has fond memories of the occasion.

"It is a special feeling playing there," said Schweinsteiger. "The atmosphere is different, it has this special something. We had the joy of playing there (Croke Park) five years ago and it is difficult to win there.

"It would be a huge advantage to get the three points but they are a tough team with a clever fox of a coach (Giovanni Trapattoni)."


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