Germany will feel no pressure in the World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday as they have the experience to cope with the biggest stage of all, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said on Saturday.
“We are immensely happy. I don’t think that we have any pressure. We have a lot of players who have played finals at top level. We know how to deal with the situation even though we have only one player who has played in the World Cup final,” he told a news conference at the Maracana stadium.
Schweinsteiger said that big-time experience in the German squad meant they would be able to savour the moment but then focus clearly on the task ahead of them.
“We only think of one thing – to get the job done. When the whistle is blown, the head will only have to think about playing football,” he said.
Germany reached the final after a remarkable 7-1 win over hosts Brazil, but Schweinsteiger said that a very different game awaits his team.
“We are in very good shape, as we were against Brazil, but we know that this is a different game. Brazil were without Neymar and Thiago Silva and they felt intense pressure. We know that we can play good football but we have to do it again from the start,” he said.
The 29-year-old came into the tournament after an injury-plagued season and, given the quality young players coming through in German football, this could well be Schweinsteiger’s last chance to win a World Cup.
Germany lost to Spain and Italy in the semifinals of the last two World Cups and were knocked out in the last four of Euro 2012 after suffering a defeat by Spain in the final of Euro 2008.
But Schweinsteiger said that despite that record and his fitness problems, he never lost faith that Germany could go all the way in this World Cup.
“I always believed because I saw what players are here and knew what is possible. I had two major injuries, had surgery on my ankle twice and problems with the knees.
“I am very happy how it developed. It is ideal actually. It was perfect because I had some more time to prepare. We have lost one or two finals but we know what it is needed to win a tournament on such a big level,” he said.
The blonde midfield general said the key to the match would be to show patience and deal with Argentina’s main threats.
“We have to be patient. Argentina is for me a very, very good team who are deservedly in the final. They have world-class players with [Lionel] Messi, [Angel] Di Maria and Sergio Aguero.
“[Javier] Mascherano is the leading wolf – as he showed with the tackle against Arjen Robben to deny him a goal. You see what kind of attitude he has for his country. It will not be easy for us but if we show our quality on the pitch and we have the necessary cleverness, we can beat this team.” – Reuters, additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann