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Mertesacker happy to down England in Brazil warm-up

20 Nov 2013 15:46:51

Mertesacker happy to down England in Brazil warm-up

Match-winner Per Mertesacker dubbed Germany's victory over England "a good warm-up" for the Brazil 2014 World Cup -- even if he can now expect a somewhat frosty reception from Arsenal fans.

The 29-year-old Gunners' star headed the 39th-minute winner in the 1-0 victory at Wembley to inflict a second straight defeat on Roy Hodgson's Three Lions, who also lost 2-0 at home to Chile in London last Friday.

It was only the towering centre-back's fourth goal for Germany on his 95th appearance, but the win secured Germany's sixth consecutive win against England in London, dating back to 1982.

Despite beating England, Mertesacker has become a firm fans' favourite since joining Arsenal in 2011 with Gunners' fans affectionately dubbing him their BFG - "Big Fucking German".

Mertesacker has given the nickname the seal of approval by displaying it on a T-shirt and joked how much he is looking forward to seeing his English team-mates at the Premier League leaders to discuss his winning goal at Wembley.

But the centre-back also explained why he is really relishing next June's World Cup.

"I have a few good arguments now for the return to Arsenal," Mertesacker told reporters with a grin.

"It was a good warm-up for the World Cup and Germany is in the unusual situation that we have so many good players.

"Not everything we tried against England came off, but we were convincing as a team.

"We were already very stable defensively against Italy in last Friday's 1-1 draw, which is very positive."

Seven months ahead of Brazil 2014, Germany are amongst the favourites for the World Cup and Mertesacker said the belief in the squad is strong.

"Of course, you need a lot of luck in a tournament like that," he said.

"But our excellent team spirit, as well as our large selection of good players, who can fill any gaps whenever they are needed, is a big advantage.

"That's why I am looking optimistically towards Brazil, it could make a difference next summer."

With right-back Philipp Lahm rested for the England game, Mertesacker took over the captain's arm-band and has impressed Germany coach Joachim Loew since moving to Arsenal.

"Per has taken a step forward in England," said Loew.

"His agility, his precision and his mobility are excellent. He is simply always in the right place."


AFP

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