Team manager Oliver Bierhoff has praised Germany’s squad for their comradeship and team spirit in the lead-up to their Euro 2012 semi-final.
Bierhoff was keen to show his appreciation for the German players who have sat on the bench so far at the tournament and argued that their commitment to the team’s success had played a crucial role so far.
The former striker gave veteran Per Mertesacker extra credit as the Arsenal defender would have expected to play prior to the continental championships.
“Everybody is calm, even when they … think they could play,” Bierhoff said.
“That shows the team spirit and their professional attitude.
“I want to stress this with Per Mertesacker, who hasn’t played so far.
“He was in the starting 11 during the last tournament and has an important role in this tournament.
“He is standing in the second row, but guides young players, who aren’t playing and keeps the pressure on the starting 11.”
Germany will play Italy in Thursday’s semi-final and Bierhoff has claimed his team still have room to improve.
“I think they just developed during the tournament,” Bierhoff said.
“They didn’t play well in the first games, so glamorous as we have seen it during the qualification or the friendlies against the Netherlands and Brazil, but very effective, concentrated and focused.”
FA president Wolfgang Niersbach added on Wednesday that he believes Germany can defeat Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final, having never before won a competitive match against the Italians.
“We are looking forward to (the semi-final versus Italy) tomorrow and are very excited,” Niersbach said.
“Obviously I would agree with anybody who now says that it is our time to win against Italy in a major tournament.”
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