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Mertesacker demands ruthless Germany

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Jun 2012

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Per Mertesacker has urged Germany to beat Denmark to seal progression to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

Joachim Loew’s side have won both of their opening two Group B matches so far, recording narrow victories over Portugal and Netherlands.

However, they still require a point from their final match against Morten Olsen’s men to guarantee their progression to the final eight, and 27-year-old Mertesacker warned that the job is not yet done to qualify for the knockout phase.

“This was a great win for us (over the Netherlands), because it was the second step,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“This was the next step, but not the final one to go through the group stage.

“Therefore we’ll do our best against Denmark. The group is very close and every team can go through – nothing’s happened for us yet, and we’ll have to give everything in our third match.”

Reflecting on the clash with Bert van Marwijk’s men, Mertesacker said Germany were not at their best for the first 20 minutes, but felt that they played their way into the contest.

“We tried to play at our level after a great first win against Portugal and I think that, apart from the first 20 minutes, we played a great game,” he said.

“It was difficult early on, because Netherlands pressed high up – Robin (van Persie) had the first opportunity with his left foot and it was very close.”

Mertesacker is yet to feature at the European Championships, having fallen behind Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber in the pecking order, but he still feels his experience is an asset to the younger members of the squad.

“We are a very young side,” he said.

“I think the youngest in the tournament, and therefore we need some experienced players. So I try to do my best – if not on the pitch, then off it.”

Mertesacker, who missed the final three months of Arsenal’s Premier League season with an ankle injury, revealed that his condition is improving having returned to action in the pre-tournament friendly against Switzerland.

“I’m getting better and better. Obviously I was out for three months, and the rehab was very hard. I didn’t play during that time, so the coach (Loew) chose other players and I have to accept it,” he said.

“We have a great team, so every position has more than one good player.”

Germany’s final group game against Denmark kicks off on Sunday.

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