Mats Hummels says Germany set fair for knockout phase despite lack of goals

Germany's Mats Hummels in action with Northern Ireland's Conor Washington

Mats Hummels has insisted that Germany are in good shape for the rest of the tournament despite scoring only three goals in the group stage. Joachim Löw’s team still managed to top Group C, without conceding any goals, and the defender believes they will be hard to beat in the knockout rounds.

“We are where we wanted to be – it was what we had to manage,” Hummels said. “We only scored three goals, if you want to put it like that, but we didn’t concede one, so that’s a good basis for the rounds to come.”

Hummels acknowledged that Germany would have scored more than a single goal against Northern Ireland but for an exceptional performance from the goalkeeper Michael McGovern. “He was their best man, he had a good day, but they have a very tough team,” he said. “They always work hard, and though they will not be favourites in the next round they will still make the game difficult for their opponents.

“We have to be pleased because we created five or six really big chances, maybe more. Usually we would have scored at least two goals more. It was a good performance, with the little exception that we only scored one goal.”

Compared with McGovern, Manuel Neuer was a virtual spectator for most of the game in Paris, but Hummels believes the Germany goalkeeper contributes to the confidence that has allowed him and Jérôme Boateng to form such a comfortable centre-back partnership.

“It’s a good defence, we know that,” Hummels said. “With Manuel behind we know we have someone who can save us if the ball goes beyond us. He gives us the security to attack forward. We know it’s our job to win the one on ones against opposing strikers. We are very confident in these duels because we know our quality, and that is really something you can build the team on.

“This tournament is a very big goal for us, because if you can manage to win the European Championships as well as the World Cup that is all you can achieve as a national team player. We are focused to get it done. ”

Powered by article was written by Paul Wilson in Paris, for The Guardian on Wednesday 22nd June 2016 22.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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