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Football | International

Joachim Loew © Gallo Images

Germans praised, France take positives



Germany coach Joachim Loew believes the spirit and quality shown by his makeshift side as they came from behind to beat France on Wednesday bodes well for the challenges that lie ahead this year.

The visitors had trailed at halftime through a Mathieu Valbuena header, but Thomas Mueller equalised at the Stade de France before Sami Khedira scored the winner for Joachim Loew's side, who became the first German team to beat France in 26 years.

"This was an important game for the development of my players and for the team as a whole," said the Germany coach, who saw his team lose 2-1 to the same opponents in Bremen 12 months ago and was without numerous leading names this time.

"To play here in front of 75 000 fans against a team that has had some great results recently, and to come from behind to do so, was fantastic."

"Both teams played some good stuff, but we wanted to put in a performance and we were the better side over the 90 minutes."

Loew hailed the performance of Real Madrid playmaker Mesut Oezil, whose magnificent pass for club colleague Khedira set up the winning goal, but admitted his team showed signs of the defensive frailties that had led to them drawing 4-4 with Sweden in their last World Cup qualifier.

"Oezil is an excellent player," he said. "Over the last two or three years he has been exceptional for both club and country and his passing and movement were brilliant tonight (Wednesday).

"We were a bit angry with ourselves when we came off at halftime.

"We were much more open at the back towards the end of first half. That gave France a few chances and we were lucky not to concede sooner than we did."

While Germany will fancy their chances in a World Cup qualifying double-header against Kazakhstan next month, France have to play Georgia and then Spain at home.

French coach Didier Deschamps was disappointed to see his team lose another home friendly after their 1-0 loss to Japan in October, but he saw encouraging signs ahead of the return to competitive action.

"Germany had a few leading players missing from their team tonight but they are still a strong side," he said.

"We were caught out by Oezil, who took up a position between our defence and midfield.

"It wasn't easy for us against such quality opposition but we stood up to them blow for blow for much of the game."

The Spain showdown now looms large on the horizon but Deschamps, whose side have taken seven points from a possible nine so far in qualifying for next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, must prepare for the visit of Georgia first.

"Georgia come first, but we are improving," he went on.

"We just need to make sure we don't make certain errors that we made here.

"It never gives you pleasure to lose, but Germany are one of the best teams in the world."

The France coach can perhaps take some consolation from the words of Loew, who is confident Les Bleus will be in Brazil next summer.

"They have improved a lot since the 2010 World Cup," he said.

"France are a major footballing nation again and I think they'll be there in 2014."

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