Five key matches as Joachim Loew hits milestone of 150 international matches in charge of Germany

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Joachim Loew will reach the milestone of 150 international matches in charge of Germany in Sunday’s Confederations Cup clash against Cameroon.

His record as Germany coach before the final Group B game in Sochi stands at 99 wins, 27 draws and 23 defeats.

Here are five key Germany matches under Loew’s stewardship since he first took charge for a 3-0 friendly win over Sweden on August 16 2006.

Germany 0-1 Spain – Euro 2008 final

Loew’s first final with Germany was settled by Diego Torres, who managed to hold off future World Cup winning-captain Philipp Lahm  to score the winning goal in Vienna.

En route, Germany beat Portugal 3-2 in the quarter-final when Bastian Schweinsteiger scored an early goal, then managed to keep Cristiano Ronaldo quiet.

It was the first time Loew switched from the classic 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 formation, giving the attack more width, the system which saw Germany win the World Cup six years later.

Joachim Loew comforts Bastian Schweinsteiger after their defeat to Spain.

Joachim Loew comforts Bastian Schweinsteiger after their defeat to Spain.

Argentina 0-4 Germany – 2010 World Cup quarter-final

The Germans made the world take note with an impressive display as Diego Maradona’s Argentina, boasting Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, were cut to ribbons after Loew pin-pointed weaknesses in the defence.

Thomas Mueller headed home a Schweinsteiger free-kick to give the Germans an early lead.

Striker Miroslav Klose netted twice and defender Arne Friedrich grabbed second-half goals as the Germans scored three times in the final 22 minutes to floor the Argentinians.

Germany’s run in South Africa ended in the semi-finals when they were starved of possession in losing 1-0 to Spain.

Joachim Loew hugs striker Lukas Podolski after their win over Argentina.

Loew hugs striker Lukas Podolski after their win over Argentina.

Germany 1-2 Italy – Euro 2012 semi-final

Arguably the most bitter defeat of Loew’s tenure.

The Germans had no answer to Andrea Pirlo’s precision, Mario Balotelli’s power or the Italian’s rock-solid defence in Warsaw.

With Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in top form, Germany’s attack was thwarted and centre-backs Holger Badstuber and Mats Hummels could not cope with Balotelli’s strength.

With their backs against the wall, Loew’s side lacked leadership, which became a constant topic in the German media up until the criticism was silenced by winning the World Cup two years later.

Joachim Loew (L) show his dejection after losing to Italy.

Loew (L) show his dejection after losing to Italy.

Brazil 1-7 Germany – 2014 World Cup semi-final

It’s hard to imagine there ever being a more sensational result at a World Cup.

The hosts were emotionally fraught before kick-off having lost superstar forward Neymar to injury.

With the Selecao defence in abject disarray, the Germans ruthlessly exploited the situation with four goals coming in six mind-blowing first-half minutes.

It finished 5-0 at half-time and there were plenty of tear-stained faces amongst Brazil fans in Belo Horizonte.

Toni Kroos netted twice inside two minutes in a superb display while Klose broke the record for the most goals scored at World Cup finals in a crushing opening 45 minutes from the Germans.

The message in the half-time dressing room was to stay focused and show the hosts the respect the famous yellow jersey deserved.

Andre Schuerrle came off the bench to score twice in the second half and five days later he provided the cross for the goal which won Germany the World Cup title.

Joachim Loew congratulates Benedikt Hoewedes and Per Mertesacker after their convincing win over Brazil.

Loew congratulates his players after their comprehensive win over Brazil.

Germany 1-0 Argentina – 2014 World Cup final

The crowning moment of Loew’s reign as Mario Goetze’s extra-time shot sealed the World Cup title at Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium.

Loew was emotional at the final whistle, embracing veterans captain Philipp Lahm and Schweinsteiger, who was magnificent in producing his best display in the famous white shirt.

On the sidelines, Loew told Goetze “show the world that you’re better than Messi” before bringing him off the bench just before the final whistle.

Some 20 minutes later — with extra time almost up — Goetze made no mistake with Schuerrle’s floated cross on 113 minutes to seal Germany’s fourth World Cup title.

Loew lifts the World Cup trophy.

Loew lifts the World Cup trophy.

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Leon Goretzka: Germany and Schalke star dismisses rumours linking him with move to Arsenal

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Not heading to north London: Goretzka.

Germany’s rising star Leon Goretzka has brushed off reports that Arsenal are set to sign him.

With Germany’s World Cup-winning stars all rested for the Confed Cup, the 22-year-old is one of those who has seized his chance to shine in Russia.

He is set to face Cameroon on Sunday in the final Group B match with Germany on the verge of the semi-finals.

The Schalke midfielder scored in his country’s opening 3-2 win over Australia in Group B, then put in a strong display in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Chile.

He has a year left on his Schalke contract but Goretzka insists he is fully focused on the Confed Cup.

However, with Juventus, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur also said to be interested, reports from the UK claim Arsenal are preparing a £21m bid for him.

“I do not really want to say anything about the transfer rumours, I’m focusing on the Confed Cup,” he said in Sochi.

“I’m not going to give state-of-play updates, but if there are facts, I will announce them. “I’m not the type to be impressed by newspaper reports, I know what my qualities are, but I will not build myself up.”

If he joins the Gunners, Goretzka would be Arsenal’s second off-season signing from Schalke after Bosnia defender Sead Kolasinac left earlier this month.

Christian Heidel, Schalke’s general manager, says they will not let Goretzka leave before his contract expires in June 2018.

However, Germany’s head coach Joachim Loew revealed he has spoken to the midfielder about his future.

“I had a long chat with Leon before the Confed Cup about various scenarios and opportunities,” said the Germany boss.

“I gave him my thoughts, which I won’t share here, and we’ve blended the transfer rumours out at the Confed Cup.

“He has done very well here and is intelligent enough to take the right steps (for his future).”

Provided by AFP Sport

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The best players in the world aged 30 as Barcelona star Lionel Messi celebrates his birthday to join our elite XI

Alex Rea 24/06/2017
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Lionel Messi celebrates his 30th birthday today to mark the beginning of a new phase in the Barcelona and Argentina star’s career.

There is a degree of trepidation whenever a player turns 30 as they start the decline after the period of their athletic prime.

But given Messi isn’t a player who necessarily relies on his athleticism there is no doubt he will remain at the pinnacle of world football for some time yet.

It got us thinking about other players who are 30 years old so we’ve put together an elite XI of players who are right now aged 30.

CLUB 30 (3-4-3)

GOALKEEPER

HUGO LLORIS – TOTTENHAM (30 years, 5 months, 29 days old)

His recent blunder against Sweden aside, the France and Spurs captain remains one of the best stoppers in Europe.

He heads up a new generation of stars coming through at both club and national level but will no doubt be a key asset going forward after another exceptional campaign.

Hugo Lloris of Tottenham

DEFENDERS

DAVID LUIZ – CHELSEA (30 years, 1 month, 25 days old)

The Brazilian is a real ebullient character away from the pitch and it probably skews his age as a result.

However, he returned to Chelsea from PSG last season and was at the heart of their Premier League triumph with his mature displays in Antoino Conte’s three-man defence.

Chelsea’s defender David Luiz

LEONARDO BONUCCI – JUVENTUS (30 years, 1 month, 23 days old)

Juventus’ formidable defensive wall is one of the most revered in Europe and alongside Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci has formed an almost impenetrable partnership – the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid an anomaly rather than the norm.

At 30 years of age, he is still one of the most sought-after defenders with Chelsea consistently linked with a move.

Juventus defender Leandro Bonucci

GERARD PIQUE – BARCELONA (30 years, 4 months, 22 days old)

The Barcelona defender envisages a career as the club’s president once his playing days are over and has even been undertaking business degree.

Like most after hitting 30, Pique is evidently considering his next steps having celebrated his birthday in February but on the pitch he is still a key defensive lieutenant despite an injury/illness hit campaign.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique

MIDFIELDERS

ARTURO VIDAL – BAYERN MUNICH (30 years, 1 month, 2 days old)

His wild hairstyles aren’t exactly the type you’d expect from your average 30-year-old but then again the Bayern Munich midfielder isn’t your typical footballer.

He enjoyed another tireless season for Munich to defy the anticipation that he would tail off having left Juventus as he began to enter his 30s. Vidal has even talked up playing for Chile until he is 40 recently.

Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich

CESC FABREGAS – CHELSEA (30 years, 1 month, 19 days old)

The former Barcelona and Arsenal creator was probably the most undeserving star to be regularly left out of Chelsea’s XI last season because he is still undoubtedly one of the most intelligent midfielders around.

He turned 30 last May and having voiced his disgruntlement at being dropped for the FA Cup final, Fabregas could well be angling for a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer to get more first-team football.

Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea

DRIES MERTENS – NAPOLI (30 years, 1 month, 18 days old)

Mertens hit the 30 mark in May and celebrated that with a contract extension which will see him remain with Napoli until 2020.

He emerged as one of the most prolific forwards in Europe last season as he plundered 27 goals and added seven assists in 34 Serie A games.

Dries Mertens of Napoli

JOAO MOUTINHO – MONACO (30 years, 9 months, 16 days old)

The one player on this list you would be forgiven for thinking was much older than 30. Indeed, the Monaco man seems to have been around for a long time having made a name for himself at Sporting and FC Porto.

He is though enjoying some of his best football at 30 with the Portugal international’s experience blending nicely with the Ligue 1 champions’ youthful exuberance.

Monaco’s Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho

ATTACKERS

LIONEL MESSI – BARCELONA (30 years old)

The star attraction in this side and the newest member of the 30 club. He’s set to sign a new long-term contract with Barcelona and his intentions to retire at Camp Nou appear to becoming into fruition.

The Argentine has developed into one of the game’s greatest ever players and achievers, as he continues to tear up record books with more no doubt set to tumble in his 30s.

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi

EDINSON CAVANI – PSG (30 years, 4 months, 9 days old)

His ruthlessness in front of goal is, well, hit and miss but there’s no doubt the Uruguayan is one of the premier strikers in Europe as he delivered for PSG last season in the absence of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He plundered 49 goals in 50 games in all competitions last term as he embraced the centre-forward position under Unai Emery and given how intelligent his movement is, he will continue to score goals well into his 30s.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani

LUIS SUAREZ – BARCELONA (30 years, 4 months, 25 days old)

Barcelona has made him a better player and of course he has made the Blaugrana a better team. Since leaving Liverpool, Suarez has gone from strength to strength and his tenacious talent has married perfectly with his ‘MSN’ counterparts Neymar and Messi.

With Messi’s birthday today it means two-thirds of the ‘MSN’ trio are now in their 30s with Neymar still five years away from hitting the mark.

Luis Suarez of Barcelona

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