ST PETERSBURG, July 2 (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew heaped lavish praise on his young, experimental team after they beat Chile 1-0 to win the Confederations Cup on Sunday.
Loew left behind players such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller yet his side still managed to beat the Asian, African, CONCACAF and South American champions on their way to lifting the title.
His team on Sunday had an average age of just over 24, compared to over 30 for Chile. Julian Draxler, who captained the side aged 23, was their most experienced player with 35 caps.
“I‘m immensely proud of this team because they have been together for only three-and-half weeks,” Loew told reporters.
”You could actually feel in all of our training sessions, every single day, that something was happening there. You could feel an unbelievable hunger for victory, both on the training pitch and during matches, so it’s well-deserved.
“The fact that these young players have won this tournament makes it an historic achievement, it’s unique in Germany’s history, it’s outstanding.”
The win came two days after Germany beat Spain 1-0 to win the European under-21 championship.
“All the players who were in the squad were in a much better position than they were before,” said Loew.
He added that the final was a bruising match.
“Our team had to fight hard because the Chileans are very robust players,” he said. “We have been literally fighting for every single ball.”
He also thought Chile defender Gonzalo Jara could have been sent off for elbowing Timo Werner in an incident which was reviewed by the referee using a video replay.
“That could have been a red card because it was a blow in the face and if the referee sees something like that, he could have dismissed him,” said Loew. (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)