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Wed Apr 16 18:02:17 SAST 2014

World Cup experience showing for Germany, says Schweinsteiger

Jens Mende, Sapa-dpa | 14 June, 2012 15:580 Comments
Netherlands v Germany - Group B: UEFA EURO 2012
Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany celebrates after winning the Euro 2012 group B match against Netherlands at Metalist Stadium on June 13, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine
Image by: Lars Baron / Getty Images

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said on Thursday that the experience the Germany team gained at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago was now paying dividends.

Germany on Wednesday took a giant step towards the Euro 2012 quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory against the Netherlands in their group B game, leaving them on six points and needing just a draw from their final game against Denmark to be guaranteed a place in the knock-out stage.

Schweinsteiger, who had an injury-marred season that ended in disappointment with defeats in the finals of the German cup and the Champions League and second place in the Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund, looked out of sorts in Germany’s opening game against Portugal.

His woes culminated when he fired the deciding penalty in the Champions League final shoot-out against Chelsea against the right post.

But against the Dutch, Schweinsteiger played — even though not at his best — an integral part in the German victory and gave both assists for Mario Gomez’s goals.

“I think Schweinsteiger can improve, but he did very well. You feel his presence throughout the match. I was very happy with him,” coach Joachim Loew said.

Schweinsteiger, 27, said at a press conference after the team returned to their base camp in Gdansk that the side was still young but had gained plenty of experience over the past two years.

“The tournament in South Africa was very good because it gave a lot of the players experience. You can see that how we play — with easy and clever passes. It is this experience that shows now,” Schweinsteiger said.

He praised his team-mate Gomez, whose first goal will surely rank as one of the goals of the tournament — even if most of the games are still to be played.

After Schweinsteiger found him in the area, Gomez pulled the ball around himself with his left foot before beating goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with a right-footed shot.

“I was so shocked at the goal. I have never seen Mario take a ball like that and then he put it in,” he said, adding with a grin: ”We have to be careful that he does not go to Brazil.” 

He compared Gomez with Didier Drogba and said that like the Ivorian striker he pounces on chances upfront and is always in the right place.

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