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Loew to test German World Cup hopefuls

Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s friendly against France on Tuesday offers Joachim Loew a chance of revenge, but the coach appears to be looking forward to the 2018 World Cup rather than back at Euro 2016.

“There are certain players that I want to see tested against the best,” Loew said ahead of the meeting in Cologne with Les Bleus, whose 2-0 victory in the Euro semifinals was Germany’s last defeat.

Loew sees this week’s matches, against England and France, as a chance to try things out in preparation for the World Cup. He plans to use the spring internationals, against Spain and Brazil, to bed in his lineup for Russia. 

“England and France are the measuring sticks for us,” Loew said Friday evening after the world champions drew 0-0 at Wembley. “I want to see where certain players are. That was more important than the result.”

“I think France are a little better than England,” he said. “France have an extremely fast attack and midfield and are more dangerous in front of goal than England.” 

At Wembley, Germany dominated the first half and created several chances but faded in the second half.

“We need to move forward quicker after winning the ball,” Loew said. “That’s something we need to work on.”

On Tuesday, Loew will test some players whose places in the World Cup squad are not assured, such as fullbacks Marcel Halstenberg of Leipzig and Marvin Plattenhardt of Hertha Berlin. He is also keen to see strikers Amin Younes of Ajax and Lars Stindl of Moenchengladbach against the French.

Loew is also likely to recall several World Cup winners: Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, who were rested against England, and the man who scored the 2014 World Cup winning goal Mario Goetze, who is returning after a long struggle with injury and illness.

Since losing to France in the Euros, Germany are unbeaten in 20 matches, three short of their record, set between 1979 and 1980.

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