Germany coach Joachim Low warned his team they would be the hunted at the 2018 World Cup, while he highlighted the improvement of other nations.
Low led Germany to success in Brazil in 2014 – their fourth world title – and their maiden Confederations Cup crown earlier this year.
While the 57-year-old expects a far greater test in Russia next year, he is eager for his team to reach the decider.
“Of course that’s our wish and our goal [to reach the World Cup final]. We are the defending world champions, we have won the Confederations Cup, our goal can only be to stay on top, but that’ll be difficult,” Low said Tuesday.
“We’ve won it all lately and everybody wants to beat us.
“We will probably have stronger competition than in Brazil, where we were probably a bit in the shade of the host nation, with the focus being on Brazil.
“This time the focus will probably be on us. I think the quality of some teams is even higher, some nations have improved a lot – France, England, but I don’t have to name them all.
“It’ll be a tough competition, but naturally, reaching the final in Moscow, we’ll be working hard to achieve that.”
Germany reached the World Cup with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches in Group C of UEFA qualifying.
Low’s side are sure to be tested more greatly when they play England and France in friendlies on Friday and Tuesday respectively, and they are looking forward to those encounters.
“I think everyone is looking forward to [playing against England]. There are three, four stadiums [I admire] around the world, Wembley is surely one of them and we’ve got to play there a couple of times lately,” Low said.
“It’s an amazing stadium and Friday it’ll probably be packed, so it’ll be a great atmosphere. Germany-England is always a special game so I believe both teams are looking forward to it.
“And for us, after the qualifiers, these friendly matches against teams who are on our level, the qualifiers include smaller teams, too, but this week with the matches against England and France we face two high-calibre teams. That’s a good test for us, to also try out a couple of things so we’ll see where we really are right now.”
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