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Final in sight

Lahm: We definitely want more

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Third in 2006, third in 2010 – and third in 2014? Not if Philipp Lahm can help it! “I don’t want to be playing for third place again. We definitely want more,” the Germany captain declared in the build-up to the World Cup semi-final meeting with Brazil on Tuesday. The Germans are utterly determined not to come up short in their quest for a spot in the Final and a shot at the biggest prize in the game. “We have two steps left,” said Toni Kroos.

“We’re totally focused on the game against Brazil,” reported Bastian Schweinsteiger on the Sunday evening prior to the last four clash in Belo Horizonte. “Obviously we want to win. We need to concentrate, and our concentration is increasing with every passing hour.” The Germany vice-captain said playing the hosts was “a huge honour and a massive challenge”.

Kroos: We face a whole nation

The task could hardly be more daunting. “You’re playing against the whole stadium and the entire country. That’s very special,” remarked Kroos. The loss of talisman Neymar to injury would knit the Brazilians ever closer together, Schweinsteiger believes: “I think they’ll want to win the trophy for him. That could release a lot of energy.”

The Germany squad set off for Belo Horizonte on Monday. Schweinsteiger thinks the clash will be energy-sapping and physically demanding: “We have this idea of Brazilians as magicians on the ball but they’ve changed and their football is a bit different compared to the past. They’re definitely more physical now and we have to be ready for that.” Fortunately for coach Joachim Löw the only man definitely out is injured defender Shkodran Mustafi.