Hummels returning to BVB a champion and staying put

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History boys: Hummels (l) proudly grasping the cup.

German defensive rock Mats Hum­mels celebrated becoming a world champion and immediately ruled out cashing in on his success with a transfer.

The Borussia Dortmund centre-half helped Die Mannschaft keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Argentina – their fourth in seven games in Brazil – before discover­ing he had been named in FIFA’s team of the tournament.

Hummels is coveted by many of Europe’s elite clubs, with Barce­lona and Manchester United those most strongly linked this summer. But he dismissed out of hand the notion he could leave BVB, where he has made almost 200 appear­ances since being discarded by Bayern Munich.

Asked if he saw his future at the Westfalenstadion, Hummels was emphatic.

“Yes, there’s nothing to argue about me staying or not. There’s nothing to discuss,” he replied.

Hummels, along with many of his team-mates, is a graduate of Germany’s success at the 2009 European Championships, and with that core firmly in place, he sees no reason why they cannot remain at the top of world football for some time to come.

“We knew that this was a special team in 2009. If you see the names, there are something like 10 players in the World Cup who played in that tournament. Six or seven of them are from Germany, the rest from other countries.

“We have very good young play­ers in Germany. Most of the team is about 25.

“I think we have six or seven of us who are born in 1988, so there’s a big chance to stay successful in these next years, but of course it’s just a chance, not a guarantee.

“Of course I know that we have a very good team, but to win titles is very difficult. Ten teams are capable of winning a title, so it’s very hard to make it happen once. I don’t think about 2016 or 2018 at the moment. It’s just enjoying this moment.”

Hummels added: “We saw videos of them, which showed they have eight players in defence.

“We knew it would be a tough game for us and that if they had fast breaks they would be dangerous – with Messi. He’s the best in the world so it was very hard for us in defence.”

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Schweinsteiger seeks era of German domination

David Cooper 15/07/2014
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On the up: Schweinsteiger (c) feels this generation of German players can win much more.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is targeting further glory with Germany after finally winning his first major tro­phy with the national side.

Ever since he made his inter­national debut in 2004, Schwein­steiger had become used to just coming up short in major tourna­ments.

Of the five he played in prior to Brazil, Schweinsteiger reached the semi-finals on three occasions and at Euro 2008 he was part of the Ger­many team that lost to Spain.

All that changed on Sunday night, though, when he and his team-mates beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup in the Maracana.

Schweinsteiger does not want this to be the last time he lifts a tro­phy, however.

With a young squad in place, he feels there is plenty of potential there for Germany to go on and win many trophies in the near future.

“This will give us hunger now, absolutely,” the midfielder said.

“We want to do it again at the next tournament.

“The important thing is that the young guys have the experience of this tournament and we will go to France (for Euro 2016) and try and do it again for sure.

“We have the experience now from what we have done here and that will help us. I think what hap­pened before in South Africa at the last World Cup helped too.

“You never know what happens in the future. But we are fit, we are hungry and we have some good players who are 25 years of age and around that age.

“It won’t be easy because that is a young team.

“But we also have some play­ers like Philipp Lahm, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker who have the experience. This mix makes a big difference.”

Having reached the semi-finals at the last two World Cups, plus the final and the semi-finals of the last two European Championships, the Germans arrived as one of the strong pre-tournament favourites.

And with the pain of recent close calls fresh in the mind there was a tangible sense of expectation with­in Germany that it was the team’s time to go one better.

Schweinsteiger, however, insists none of that transferred to the squad. Instead he said he felt more under anxious to deliver when he lined up for Bayern Munich against domestic rivals Borussia Dort­mund in an all-German Champions League final in 2013.

“There was no pressure (in Rio),” he said. “It was different to the game against Dortmund in London. “That was pressure. The 25 minutes in the beginning was not so easy.

“There was no pressure on us in this game. We just wanted to give our best. Every title is important. I’m happy that we won this title with the guys.

“Since the tournament was held in Germany in 2006, we always go as far as the semi final, finish in third place or reach the final in 2008 but lose.

“But now we have taken one step more and that is the most im­portant thing for the whole of this squad.”

World football has been domi­nated by Spain for a generation now with them tasting success at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.

Yet their early demise in Brazil suggests the end of their golden era, with many believing the Germans can fill the void they have left.

But Schweinsteiger said: “We have the mentality of the Germans. We can run, we can make pressure, we can defend and the mix between this is the solution.

“We’re not like Spain, we have a German squad.”

No European nation had pre­viously lifted the famous trophy on South American soil in four attempts.

So Schweinsteiger was under­standably proud of his team-mates for writing history in Rio.

“We are the first European team to win the title in South America, the first team from Europe so it has been special,” the 29-year-old added.

“We played the final for the Bra­zilians as well because we want to say thank you. We did it.

“I like the culture of the people. They are happy – not like the Ger­mans sometimes!”

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Russia vows to deliver when they host 2018 World Cup

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Confident: Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has vowed “an unforgettable football feast” when his country hosts the 2018 World Cup.

After spending more than the $50 billion on this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, Putin faces another astronomical bill for the tournament. The 2018 World Cup is Russia’s most ambitious project since the fall of the Soviet Union – but Putin is confident.

“We will do all we can to organise the event on the highest level,” he said after seeing Germany beat Argentina to close Brazil 2014.

“We successfully hosted the Winter Olympics and know exactly what a challenge it is to organise such an event.”

Putin claimed Russia wanted to learn from the experience of Brazil, which won plaudits for the tournament despite dire warnings of street protests, rushed construction and crime.

“We will do our best to present the world an unforgettable football feast and genuine Russian hospitality in 2018,” Putin told Russia’s state ITAR-TASS news agencies.

The World Cup presents a massive challenge with a radical overhaul needed of sports, tourist and transport infrastructure in a string of under-developed regions across the vast country.

Matches will be played in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Volga region city Kazan, Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd.

Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, which hosted the 1980 Olympics, is being transformed into an 81,000- seat arena fit to hold the opening match and the final.

Spartak Moscow’s new 42,000-seater stadium goes into service in September while the 45,100-seater venue at Kazan, is already operational.

Saint Petersburg’s 70,000-seat Gazprom arena is expected to be ready in May 2016 and Sochi’s Olympic Fisht ground will soon increase its capacity to 45,000 seats. Elsewhere, a mammoth task lies ahead in building stadiums in six provincial cities from scratch and renovate the ground in the easterly city of Yekaterinburg.

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