Neuer: Germany better than in 2010

Germany are a better team with more depth and maturity than they had at the 2010 World Cup where they finished third, according to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.


With the Germans eager to ease some of the pressure as one of the tournament favourites with victory in their opening Euro 2012 Group B game against Portugal on Saturday, Neuer said a good start would put them on track for the title.

"We are better than in 2010 because we can fill each position twice and that was not the case at the World Cup," said Neuer, who played his first tournament for Germany in South Africa in 2010.

"We are now more mature in our automatic processes and we know each other much better."

Germany fielded their youngest World Cup squad in 76 years at the 2010 finals, with an average age well below 24, and coach Joachim Loew has continued his policy of introducing young talent to the international stage.

Neuer said while Germany were a relatively untested tournament team in 2010, they were now among the title favourites after winning all 10 of their qualifiers.

"Yes we want to win the title," said the 26-year-old. "But we want to take it step by step. We want to play a successful game at the start to take off a bit of the pressure that we have put on ourselves.

"The start is very important, just like our victory over Australia in our first game at the World Cup. That was important for us. This time getting a positive result at the start means the pressure is reduced a bit."

Germany are hoping to end a 16-year title drought.

For Neuer, a successful Euro 2012 would ease the bitter memories of Bayern Munich's Champions League final defeat on penalties to Chelsea last month.

"For the Bayern players this is a chance (for a title) after not too bad a season," said Neuer, whose club finished runners-up in the league and German Cup to Borussia Dortmund.

"We want to grab this chance so the tournament comes at just the right time."

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