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Socceroos won't take "young, hungry" Germany for granted

Soccer

Socceroos legend Tim Cahill says the pressure will be all on Germany when the two nations meet in the Confederations Cup overnight.

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Australia faces Joachim Low’s legendary outfit early Tuesday morning, Australian time, in Sochi.

Germany have changed up their squad for the Russian tournament, resting key players with one eye on their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Just three members of their 2014 World Cup winning group – Julian Draxler, Matthias Ginter and Shkodran Mustafi – have been included.

But while they might be weakened, they certainly aren’t weak, with plenty of talent and experience in the group.

There’s even a school of thought saying ‘Die Mannschaft’ is better off including younger, hungrier players.

Cahill says he expects to face a team up for the challenge but carrying the weight of expectation that comes with representing the football powerhouse.

“We know that they’re a young side but we also know that they’ve got a lot of great players,” Cahill said.

“There’s a lot of pressure on them to do well here … (they’re all) playing for a spot at the World Cup.

“We know that they’ve got to produce.”

The 37-year-old is likely to be a bench player in Russia, but could start against Cameroon as coach Ange Postecoglou juggles his squad with three matches in seven days.

If he takes the field three times, he’ll notch 100 caps for Australia.

And if he nets twice in Russia – and who would bet against that given his fearsome tournament record – Cahill will reach 50 goals for his country.

Cahill admitted eyeing the milestone, but he’d rather have a winners medal.

“To hopefully get that mark would be a massive honour in my career,” he said.

“I would much prefer to take success in this competition because its a massive competition for us.

“For us as a group of 23 players, it’s about contributing. Whether we start or come off the bench or don’t even play.”

Like everyone in the Socceroos camp, Cahill is confident Australia can leave a mark on the tournament.

“In the last last two and half years being involved in this group I’ve seen players buy into a philosophy and evolve,” he said.

“Going onto the world stage and competing at a level. Not going there and just being physical Australian players out there to be physical.

“At the last World Cup in Brazil I got to play and witness an exceptional young bunch of players outplay some of the best teams in the world for big parts of the games.

“And then we evolved at the Asian Cup and we won it.

“If we can play the style that we know, we can most definitely beat them.”

The Socceroos have a win, a draw and a loss against the Germans under Joachim Low’s management.

Germany brutalised Australia in a 4-0 drubbing at the World Cup in 2010 but the following year Holger Osieck led Australia to a surprise 2-1 friendly win over his homeland.

In their most recent meeting, Ange Postecoglou’s 2015 Asian Cup winners drew 2-2 in their first game after winning their continental crown.

Low said a steely defence would be essential in getting an edge over Australia.

“We need our defence to be stable and compact because Australia is a very good attacking team with very fast players. They’re also moving in their forward positions,” he said yesterday.

Low promised to change up his tactics and teams through the tournament, which Germany regards as preparation for their World Cup defence in 2018.

Having left captain and first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at home, he nominated Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno to play against the Socceroos.

The gloveman, an ex-teammate of Robbie Kruse, echoed his manager’s thoughts on Australia’s key strength.

“Australia will be playing very quickly. They have a dynamic team on the field I’m sure,” he said.

“Robbie Kruse or Mathew Leckie are really fast players and we know them from the Bundesliga.

“They’ll leave the ball to us and will counter-attack.”

-AAP

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