Germany captain Manuel Neuer said Tuesday their two remaining World Cup group games are now effectively “finals” as the holders fight to stay in the tournament. The world champions are under intense pressure ahead of Saturday’s second Group F game against Sweden in Sochi and the South Korea match next Wednesday in Kazan after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico on Sunday.
“From now on, we only have finals. The players have to show what they can do but I am convinced that we can do it,” said Neuer at the German team hotel. Pre-World Cup talk from the German camp was about becoming the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend the title.
Now the worry is whether Joachim Loew’s team can even reach the last 16. “Complaining about what happened doesn’t change anything, we all know that,” said Neuer about the Mexico defeat. “We have to try to put this behind us as quickly as possible.”