Germany are set to face Mexico in the second semifinal of the Confederations Cup and national team coach Joachim Löw is not lacking confidence. The winner of Thursday's contest will go on to face Chile in Sunday's final.
Germany coach Joachim Löw is oozing confidence ahead of his side's Confederations Cup semifinal against Mexico on Thursday - and is ready for a penalty shootout if it's required.
Having won their group in Russia, Germany are on a 13-match unbeaten run, dating back just under a year to their Euro 2016 semi-final defeat to hosts France.
"I think in terms of gut feeling, we're heading to St. Petersburg," said Löw, who paid tribute to the performances of the young and peripheral players who have impressed at the tournament.
"We have flexibility and all the players have done a good job," he added. "Some have shown great hunger while others are simply outstanding. I had the idea to bring an experimental squad to the Confederations Cup in 2014. I'm satisfied with the decisions we've made."
With Germany's under 21 players having been forced into a penalty shootout against England in the European Championship on Tuesday, Löw is well aware that their game against Mexico could go all the way too - but the coach hasn't compiled a list of players he would call upon in a shootout.
"Sometimes the players practice after training, but you can't train for what will happen on the night," the coach said.
"If it happens, I will look at the faces of my players after the final whistle, take into account who is ready and who has missed them in the past, then make a decision," he added.
However, Löw is much more focused on figuring out how to beat Mexico in 90 minutes, and he will be aware that the Mexicans have come from behind in all three of their group matches, beating both New Zealand and Russia 2-1 after drawing 2-2 with Portugal, when they twice equalized.
"It will be aggressive in a positive sense, this is how they have been playing for years," Löw said. "They hunt the ball with all of their players and when they have it, they quickly play it in deep."
Stindl to return
Löw has promised changes with forward Lars Stindl, who has scored twice so far in Russia, expected to return t0n the starting 11 along with left back Jonas Hector
Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be Germany's goalkeeper for semifinal - and the final, should they get there, Löw confirmed. Julian Draxler will continue as captain having impressed the coach in his role as skipper.
"The way he is coordinating the young team is very good," Löw said Wednesday. "He is turning into a personality who is in a position to assume responsibility. He's taking care of younger players and trying to help integrate them into the team.
"He is always focused on what matters on the pitch, but also off the pitch. He is very sociable with the other players as well."
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who has chopped and changed his side during this tournament so far, will be without suspended captain Andres Guardado - but Mexico's all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez believes his team can come through the test against Germany as he is reunited with some familiar faces.
"We know them, we know about the things that could make them suffer, but we are going to focus on our team and our tactics," said the Bayer Leverkusen striker.
Löw wants dopers named
Doping has been in the headlines after reports that Russia's entire World Cup 2014 squad were doping.
Players who are found guilty of doping should be named and shamed, Löw told reporters after allegations concerning Russian footballers came to light.
"I want those organisations that are constantly testing us at training camps and before and after games to give us the names. I want to have the names," Löw said.
"Please, if these allegations can be proven, if the names are really there - they should not be kept secret. If there is something to it, make it public and if players have doped, then, they have to be suspended."
FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura said the game's world governing body was "fully cooperating" with the World Anti-Doping Agency and had a zero tolerance policy for doping.
FIFA said on Sunday that it was investigating allegations that footballers were among the Russian athletes who were involved in or benefited from a state-sponsored system of doping.