Joachim Loew. Picture: SUPPLIED
Joachim Loew. Picture: SUPPLIED

Germany are the kings of the penalty shootout, but the world champions hope to see off Mexico in Thursday’s Confederations Cup semifinal without needing dreaded spot-kicks.

The Germans have won all five penalty shootouts they have been involved in since 1976 at either World Cup finals or European championships.

Joachim Loew’s team face the Mexicans in Sochi for a place in Sunday’s Confederations Cup final in St Petersburg against either Portugal or Chile.

Having won their Confederations Cup group, Germany are on a 13-match unbeaten run, dating back just under a year to their Euro 2016 semifinal defeat to hosts France.

Leftback Jonas Hector said Germany’s young guns had not yet practised spot-kicks and hoped to beat Mexico over the 90 minutes. "We would like to avoid this situation [penalties]," admitted Hector. "We haven’t specifically trained for it and we’ll take it as it comes."

Nevertheless, the Germans seem to have penalty-taking in their blood. Their under-21 team beat England 4-3 on penalties on Tuesday, to book their place in Friday’s final at the European Under-21 Championships in Poland.

Loew said he did not have a list of his top five penalty takers.

"Sometimes the players practise after training, but you can’t train for what will happen on the night," the German 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."

The Germans expect a battle royal against Mexico’s come-back kings.

The Mexicans came 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 equalised.

"It will be aggressive in a positive sense," said Loew. "They hunt the ball with all their players and when they have it, they play it deep quickly."

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who has chopped and changed his side so far, will be without suspended captain Andres Guardado.

AFP

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