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Germany's close call brings out boo-birds

Updated: 2014-03-07 08:22
By Agence France-Presse in Stuttgart, Germany ( China Daily)

Head coach Joachim Loew admitted Germany must improve if it is to challenge for the World Cup title after its fortuitous 1-0 win over Chile in a match which the visiting side dominated.

Jorge Sampaoli's Chile, which faces Australia, defending champion Spain and 2010 beaten finalist the Netherlands in Brazil, had the better of Loew's full-strength side in Wednesday's friendly.

To top it off, the Germans endured a rare roasting at the hands of their fans, who booed them off the pitch.

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

Chile was only denied an equalizer by the woodwork when Valencia's Eduardo Vargas clattered the crossbar with an hour gone and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at his mercy.

For most of the remainder of the match, Chile enjoyed sustained pressure while the Germans looked disconnected.

"You could see just how strong Chile can play," said Loew, whose side faces Portugal, Ghana and the USA at Brazil 2014.

"We had a lot of trouble breaking down their defence, it was incredibly difficult.

"We lost far too much possession and that gave us problems.

"Today we weren't in position to dominate the game and that is something we have to work on in the coming months."

Chile had the Germans under pressure for long spells and outshot the host 17-7. 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."

German captain Philipp Lahm said the crowd had every right to voice their disapproval.

"As Chile had so many chances, you can say we had a lucky win," he said.

"We have to accept the whistles and jeers, these people paid good money to watch us.

"We all know we still have work to do. But we always prepare well for a World Cup, so I am not worried."

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

But he has more questions than answers from his final friendly before naming his provisional World Cup squad on May 8.

"A win is a win, Chile was really good," said Germany's 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."

But Arsenal center-back Per Mertesacker took some positives from the win.

"When we slip into such an unorthodox way of playing, then we clearly have some work to do," he said.

"We should have countered quicker and we needed too much time to do that.

"It was a good lesson for us and it's not such a bad thing to keep our feet on the ground."

(China Daily 03/07/2014 page23)