Rudiger admits it will be a 'surprise' if Germany win World Cup

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Antonio Rudiger admits it would come as a "surprise" if Germany win the World Cup in Qatar, as the Real Madrid defender gears up to play a key role for his nation.

A member of the squad four years ago, Rudiger has been elevated into a starting berth for the 2014 champions and is one of the more experienced players within Hansi Flick's side.

Germany fell flat as defending champions in Russia, exiting at the group stage, and are not ranked among the favourites to go all the way in Qatar, with that honour falling to Brazil, Argentina and France.

While Rudiger is keen to go all the way in the tournament, he has conceded it would be a shock outcome if Germany were to end victorious for a fifth time in their history.

"It's exciting. In 2018 I was in the team, but always on the bench. I was young. Now I enjoy a different role, the role of leader," he told AS.

"I've worked all my life for this and it's something that makes me very happy. I'm ready.

"It's a new era. In 2014 there was an excellent generation, people like [Toni] Kroos, [Mario] Gotze, [Phillip] Lahm, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger.

"But I think now there is also a great generation of players capable of achieving something important.

"You can never get Germany out of the potential winners. But if we look at what we have done in recent months, it may be a surprise [if] we win.

"We haven't managed to do a good stage lately. In good shape, for me, is for example Brazil."

Germany have little room for mistakes in Group E as they sit alongside fellow European juggernauts Spain, along with Costa Rica and Japan, with Rudiger aware of the threat La Roja pose.

"It's a World Cup. If you want to win it you have to also beat the best, and it doesn't matter when you face them," he added.

"Spain is very, very high. Now, playing in Spain, I can see how many good players there are.

"Like Germany, it is a new generation. In football, it's hard to give things time. But I think they have a good team, a young team that may need time."

Germany's World Cup campaign begins against Japan on November 23, before then facing Spain four days later and closing the group stage against Costa Rica.