Germany v France preview: Muller in plea to supporters

Thomas Muller.
Thomas Muller.
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Thomas Muller believes criticism of Germany’s performance against Algeria is exaggerated, saying the main thing is they made it through to set up a World Cup quarter-final clash against France today.

Germany needed extra-time to see off a strong Algerian side on Monday and had it not been for the performance of goalkeeper-turned-sweeper Manuel Neuer, they may well have already returned home.

They are still in Brazil, though, and because of that, Muller believes they deserve a bit more credit than they are receiving from the German media.

He criticised the negative atmosphere back home after just one game in which not everything ran so smoothly.

“The way things have been interpreted and transmitted is wrong,” he told reporters in Brazil.

“We have won what was a tight game. Even if we had to go through extra-time to get it, we deserved to go through.

“We know ourselves that we want to play differently to the way we played, and we take the constructive criticism on board, but we did run our socks off for 120 minutes.”

Immediately after Monday’s victory, Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker claimed Algeria had not been shown enough respect by the German media.

“Like Per said, we weren’t up against a Mickey Mouse team,” Muller added.

“That’s the truth. He said what he felt and he was spot on. The criticism is caused by the great level of expectation.

“Things don’t work all the time and we should not be here feeling we ought to apologise.

“I don’t want to win the World Cup and have to say afterwards ‘sorry that we only won by one goal’. Criticism is good, but without losing perspective.”

France’s Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris said his side will be looking to write a new page of history – and that Les Bleus are approaching the match without trepidation but with “sheer enjoyment”.

He told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: “We are not afraid of anything - we know full well that in one match just about anything is possible including for this to be our last one in the World Cup.

“But but there is no fear, it’s a real pleasure, a sheer joy to play Germany.

“We want to win this match for our friends, our families, for France!

“There is a long history between both nations but as far as we are concerned we live for the present moment, we want to write our own history.”

France also lost out to West Germany in the 1986 semi-finals but this time Didier Deschamps’ side are riding a confidence surge that has seen them reach the last eight without ever facing a serious challenge and playing some impressive stuff along the way.

Deschamps said: “We have played a very good World Cup and we will have a major opponent in Germany who is used to these situations.

“They always seem to get to the quarter-finals, semi-finals or final so are more experienced.

“Our strong points are that our players are very competitive and some play for major European clubs at a top level so we have had to make them more united.

The fact that you are in the French team means you have duties and responsibilities and the spirit has been very high since the beginning of our preparation period.

“There is no pressure on the players, history is what has been and gone and tomorrow we will maybe write a new page in history.”

Deschamps has Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho fit again and that might mean Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny is likely to lose his place in the starting line-up despite some good performances.

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