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'Stopping Beckham was the key to German victory'

August 23, 2007 09:52 IST
Germany coach Joachim Loew said preventing David Beckham from getting free kicks anywhere near Jens Lehmann's goal was the key to their 2-1 victory at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.

"We won the one-on-one defensive battles without making stupid fouls, without tripping them and without tearing their shirts," Loew said afterwards, clearly delighted with Germany's first win against a former World Cup winning team in nearly seven years.

"England only got a few free kicks. That's the biggest danger with England, the free kicks from Beckham.

"We said before the match we didn't want to provoke any stupid fouls near the area. I'm very pleased that everyone stuck to that."

But Loew admitted his young team, scrambled together at the last minute after a half dozen key players were injured, failed to follow his game plan to attack from the opening whistle, conceding they they were outplayed after quickly going 1-0 down.

"In the first 15 minutes we had too much respect for England," he said. "We did exactly what we didn't want to do. We wanted to attack right away.

"You could see that this team had not really had a chance to come together. In the beginning we appeared to be a bit intimidated. Perhaps we were too impressed by the atmosphere.

"But fortunately we got one back and that helped the confidence."

Loew said as happy as he was to win at Wembley, beating Wales in their next Euro 2008 qualifier in Cardiff on Sept.8 was more important.

But Arsenal keeper Lehmann, who has struggled in the opening week of the new Premier League this season, was less modest.

"It's always fantastic to win in England," he said. "We were the last team to win here and now we're the first to win here. And we did it with only part of our first team. That's special."

Erik Kirschbaum
Source:
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