Saturday, June 23, 2018

Germany not yet where we want to be, admits Kroos

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Jun 2016


Toni Kroos admits that Germany remain short of their desired level of form despite Sunday’s 2-0 win over Ukraine in their Euro 2016 opener.

Shkodran Mustafi’s maiden goal for his country gave the world champions a 1-0 lead in the first half, with substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger making the points safe in second-half stoppage time with his first international goal in almost five years.

Germany struggled to hit a consistent rhythm against Mikhail Fomenko’s side, who were denied an equaliser in the first half through two superb Manuel Neuer saves and a timely goal-line clearance from Jerome Boateng.

And Kroos, who was named man of the match for a fine display capped by an assist for Mustafi’s header, says they must look to build on their improved second-half performance.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “Winning 2-0 and not conceding is great for self-confidence. We had our impressions throughout this game, we passed well in the spaces.

“The last 15 minutes before half-time were not too strong, so we couldn’t have complained had we conceded. But we dominated the game in the second half and I don’t remember us conceding any chances.

“We’re not at the level that we want to achieve in this tournament but it’s quite a nice feeling.”

Mustafi impressed at the heart of the defence alongside Boateng, with his first-half header and a superb late interception to stop a Ukraine counter-attack capping a strong all-round display.

Kroos praised the Valencia man for his efforts in the absence of the more established Mats Hummels and Antonio Rudiger – even though he felt his goal was a simple task.

“He just had to head it in, it wasn’t difficult!” Kroos joked, before adding: “In all seriousness, he had a good game, he’s done everything possible to fight for the squad. He has high quality and he helped us. Big compliments to him.”


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