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Spanish trauma gives Metzelder final hope

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Jun 2008

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Germany's Spanish spy Christoph Metzelder says his side must take advantage of Spain's first appearance in a major final since 1984 when they face the Germans in Sunday's Euro 2008 final.

The 27-year-old Real Madrid centre-back has spent a season at the Bernabeu and he says Spain's lack of experience in the knock-out stages of a major tournament could help Germany win the Henri Delaunay trophy.

Spain have not been in a major final since they were beaten 2-0 by Michel Platini-inspired France at the Parc des Princes in 1984, while the bulk of the Germany team claimed third-place at the 2006 World Cup.

“I know the Spanish have real respect for us, but there is a self-inflicted trauma in the team, it has taken them decades to move beyond the quarter-final of a tournament and that could be a factor,” said Metzelder.

“They will respect that, but this is a big game and big games have a different set of laws.”

Metzelder knows all about big games – with Torsten Frings and Miroslav Klose he is one of three survivors at Euro 2008 who played in the 2002 World Cup final defeat to Brazil in Yokohama.

Spain are unbeaten at Euro 2008 and tore Russia apart in Thursday night's semi-final, but Metzelder says Germany fear no one.

“The Germany team has come on in leaps and bounds since 2002, back then we saved our best game for the final, but we were well-beaten by Brazil.

“It's not just about being efficient, we have shown we can also play with flair and we don't have to fear anyone.

“As individual players, we have to go to the limit and raise our game, we have to be fit to the minute, to peak when it counts.

“You always need that little bit of luck.”

With Real team-mates goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Sergio Ramos in the Spain side, Metzelder says his friendship with them will be put on hold for the final's 90 minutes.

“They are good colleagues and I am looking forward to talking to them after the final, but for those 90 or 120 minutes, we will put our friendships aside,” said Metzelder.

A foot injury kept Metzelder out until May and he had to win a fitness battle to take his place in the Germany side.

“I had the operation on February 13, so I knew it would be a race against time,” he said.

“I fought hard each and every day to make the squad and I am mighty proud to have made it, I raised my game for the tournament and I will give all I have on Sunday to get that trophy.”

But Metzelder says Germany are well clued up on what to expect from Luis Aragones' Spanish side – without his extra input.

“We have been watching all of Spain's games for the last three years,” said Metzelder when asked if he had briefed his side.

“Our senior analyst travels to Spain regularly to watch them play and we trust what he has told us.

“If I am asked any questions about them, I will be happy to answer, but there has been no need so far.”

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