Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bravo is a penalty killer – Germany boss Low open to Confed shoot-out

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jul 2017

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Germany head coach Joachim Low is not fearful of the Confederations Cup final going to a shoot-out despite the presence of “penalty killer” Claudio Bravo in Chile’s line-up.

The Manchester City goalkeeper put a dreadful debut Premier League campaign behind him by pulling off saves from Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men saw off European champions Portugal 3-0 on spot-kicks after a goalless semi-final in Kazan.

Chile’s 2015 and 2016 Copa America triumphs also came via shoot-outs, with Bravo between the posts, but Low and Germany – who have their own firmly established record of success in such situations – are in no way fearful.

“No, of course not. Why should I be? Chile have excellent players who can score from the spot. Against Portugal they were without fault,” said a jovial Low during a pre-match briefing at Krestovsky Stadium.

“Claudio Bravo really helped. He seems to be a real penalty killer.

“We also have excellent players from the spot. We will try to avoid that but we are not afraid of a penalty shoot-out at all.”

German football finds itself on the crest of a wave heading into the St Petersburg final.

Low’s youthful squad, which is without a number of leading lights such as Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Manuel Neuer, will look to win a second title in three days for the country after their Under-21 side beat Spain 1-0 on Friday to claim the European Championship.

Following criticism over his squad selection for the Confederations Cup, Low confirmed he felt “vindicated” by performances in Russia.

“The players who have played here have left a very favourable impression,” he said. “There are no losers in this team, they have only benefitted.”

Nevertheless, the 57-year-old maintains there is work to be done with this dazzling generation before they contemplate being part of a World Cup defence.

“Right now you have a certain euphoric mood in the country with the winning of that title but the most important thing is to look forward – we need to measure ourselves against those calibre of players like [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi, Kroos and the others,” he said.

“The World Cup Is the toughest challenge there is. You have seven matches where you have to bring your best and cannot let up at any turn. You need superhuman performances at the World Cup.

“We still have 12 months to go. It’s early days and these two tournaments do not yield the results for next year’s World Cup.”

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