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‘A massive game’

Germany favour caution in Moscow showdown

Germany boss Joachim Löw chose to fire his men up for Saturday’s crunch showdown against Russia to the backdrop of Red Square and the Kremlin, banning all thoughts of failure in Moscow. In public, the coach has urged his men to win at the Lushniki stadium and seal their passage to the World Cup finals in South Africa, but in reality, Löw would be entirely satisfied with avoiding defeat.

“It’s not a game we have to win at all costs. We don’t have to go for it devil may care,” he said in front of 100 reporters and cameramen on Friday, insisting he had a “good feeling” about Saturday’s likely group decider.

A win would send the Germans to South Africa with a game to spare, while a draw and a victory over Finland in Hamburg on Wednesday would be enough for the three-time winners to top Group 4 and avoid the nerve-wracking play-offs on 14 and 18 November.