Bastian Schweinsteiger (Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 12: Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said on Saturday that his side will be under “no pressure” when they tackle Argentina in Sunday’s World Cup final at the Maracana.
“We’re looking forward to it. There’s huge anticipation and joy. We have no pressure,” Schweinsteiger told a press conference at the iconic Rio de Janeiro stadium.
Striker Miroslav Klose is the only survivor in the Germany squad from the team beaten 2-0 by Brazil in the 2002 final, but Schweinsteiger says that his team-mates have sufficient experience of major games.
“We have lots of players among the 23 who’ve played in important finals and we know how to handle that,” he said.
“We have Miroslav Klose, who played in the final in 2002. Other players have played in finals with their clubs and have produced outstanding performances.
“We just have to think about the job we have to do. When the referee blows his whistle, we just have to concentrate on what makes us strong.
“Everything else around the game, we can take it in, but we have to keep it at a distance. Your head must be clear and concentrating only on football.”
Germany are bidding to win their first World Cup since 1990, when a team coached by former captain Franz Beckenbauer beat Argentina 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Joachim Loew’s side will start as favourites after humiliating hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals, but Schweinsteiger believes that the margin of victory in that game may have been misleading.
“We’re in top shape, but we have to put the match against Brazil into context,” he said.
“It was a match with certain factors — Neymar’s injury, Thiago Silva wasn’t there (due to suspension). And also Brazil clearly felt the pressure that was on them.”
Although Argentina are unbeaten, they won their first five games by only a one-goal margin and needed penalties to overcome the Netherlands in the semi-finals after a dour 0-0 draw in Sao Paulo.
Nevertheless, Schweinsteiger was eager to emphasise the attacking quality in their ranks, and also spoke in glowing terms about opposition midfielder Javier Mascherano.
“Argentina are an excellent side and they’re deservedly in the final,” said the 29-year-old Bayern Munich player.
“They have players like Messi, (Angel) Di Maria, (Sergio) Aguero, and then there’s Mascherano, who’s like the leader of a pack of wolves.
“I remember his tackle on Arjen Robben against Holland. That shows the kind of attitude they have as a team and that he has for his country.
“It certainly won’t be easy for us. But I’m convinced that if we can show our potential on the pitch, we can beat such a top-class side.”
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