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January, 2007 - Nr. 1

 

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Germany Eyes Future Soccer Glory with Fledgling"Golden Generation" after Stellar 2006 Showing

  TWIG - Germany must not dwell on its superb World Cup showing last summer but set its sights on a major soccer title at Euro 2008 or the 2010 World Cup with a "golden generation" of players, national team coach Joachim Lw said on Monday.

Wrapping up a successful year which culminated in third place at the home World Cup, Lw said he will continue to bring in young players. "We have something like a golden generation of players with (Phillip) Lahm, (Bastian) Schweinsteiger, (Lukas) Podolski, (Per) Mertesacker and others," Lw said.

National team manager Oliver Bierhoff looked to the past to raise optimism for the future: "At the 1970 World Cup we also lost against Italy in the semi-finals. We then became European champions in 1972 and world champions in 1974. We have risen from 17 to number 6 in the FIFA rankings. The expectations are higher now."

Germany won 14 of its 18 matches under Juergen Klinsmann and then his post-World Cup successor Lw. This strong showing in 2006 reconciled fans with the team after several mediocre years. "The national team is popular again among Germans," said Bierhoff.

Lw said the Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland was now the top priority - next years first qualifying match will be with the Czech Republic on March 24 in Prague.

The coach will rely on older players such as captain Michael Ballack and goalkeeper Jens Lehmann as well as established "youngsters" such as Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Podolski.

But at the same time he will bring in more younger players, such as VFB Stuttgart forward Mario Gomez or Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer: "We are looking closely at these players. A new generation is coming up which can make its mark."
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"

Links:

More about Euro 2008

Euro 2008 official info site

Joachim Lw on the "golden generation" (Statement on the DFB official site, click on English version, top right column)

 

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