Germany earn Khedira’s plaudits

COLOGNE: Sami Khedira said world champions Germany proved their never-say-die spirit as Lars Stindl’s last-gasp equaliser preserved their 21-match unbeaten run in Tuesday’s 2-2 friendly draw against France.

A first international double by Alexandre Lacazette in Cologne put France on the verge of a deserved victory in a clash of two of the favourites for next year’s World Cup.

The Arsenal striker scored either side of a Timo Werner goal, before Stindl struck in the 93rd minute to maintain Germany’s unbeaten run dating back to their 2-0 defeat by France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

He had some luck in the first half, but we also had our chances to score,” said Khedira, Germany’s stand-in captain with Manuel Neuer injured.

“It is quite normal when playing in different line-ups that you have one or two problems,” he added after Germany made six changes from Friday’s goalless draw with England. “I think that we have been able to compete at a very high level overall this year.”

Praising his team for twice staging a comeback, the Juve midfielder said: “We pressed hard after the break. We conceded the goal from nothing to make it 2-1, but we also showed the morale to come back from behind.”

France coach Didier Deschamps admitted he was disappointed with the draw. “It’s a bit disappointing, we were close to getting the win,” said the 1998 World Cup winner. “We didn’t pay enough attention at the end, but we made life hard for a strong German team.”

Having rescued Germany’s unbeaten run with the equaliser, Stindl said the result capped a good year for Germany, who qualified for next year’s World Cup with a perfect 10 wins from 10 qualifiers.

“Luckily we scored in the last attack,” said the Monchengladbach forward, who scored Germany’s winning goal in the Confederations Cup final in July. “All in all, we have put in two good performances against two strong opponents, and I think it was an all-round successful 2017 for the German FA.”

Germany head coach Joachim Low said he was content both with the result in Cologne and the stalemate at Wembley against England.

“First of all, I’m very happy with both tests against England and France — they were two tests at the highest level,” he said.

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