Schweinsteiger: Anything is possible
The final matchday in Group A of the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005 boasts a veritable clash of the titans as hosts Germany take on Argentina. Having already qualified for the semi-finals, both teams will be determined to seize the top berth in the group in Nuremberg's sell-out Frankenstadion on Tuesday night, and earn the right to face the runners-up of Group B in the final four.
In keeping with previous games against Australia (4-3) and Tunisia (3-0), Bastian Schweinsteiger is also expected to start against two-time world champions Argentina. The 20-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder is without doubt one of the revelations of the tournament and FIFAworldcup.com caught up with the youngster before his country's final group game.
FIFAworldcup.com: Bastian Schweinsteiger, two games, two victories. Are you pleased with the tournament so far?
Bastian Schweinsteiger: We have done what was expected of us and fulfilled the objective we set for ourselves. That was to reach the semi-finals. So from that point of view we are satisfied.
Are you happy with how you played against Australia and Tunisia, or did you expect things to turn out differently?
I must say Tunisia surprised us. They were stronger than we expected.
You scored your first two goals for the national team shortly before the tournament and added a third against Tunisia. How do you assess your own performances?
They have been quite good, but the most important thing is that we won. I was happy to score, but I am happy above all to win regardless of whether I score.
How helpful is it when the Germany midfield consists of four Bayern players as it did against Tunisia?
Obviously it is a help because you are more familiar with the other players' runs. But all of the players are top quality so it is no problem to play with any of them.
You will be trying to win the group against Argentina on Tuesday. What do you expect from the game?
I think it will be an interesting game because Argentina have to play for the win while a draw would be enough for us. We do want to win the game though, so it should be exciting.
How do you rate Argentina? Have they shown any glimpses of their magic so far?
They still have a good team. They are technically strong and play flowing, attacking football. Riquelme is a very good player we have to look out for and prevent from spraying his passes around.
Will you be thinking about your potential semi-final opponents? If things go to plan, you will win the group and meet Brazil as runners-up in Group B.
No, we do not care who we play. We just try to win every game. We do not look at the other teams.
What do you think Germany can achieve in this tournament?
Anything is possible. The game against Argentina is not a decider. The semi-final is the first eliminator, so anything is possible.
Germany have not defeated any of the so-called big teams for a good five years. Now you have the opportunity to end that run against Argentina.
That is true. Although I think if we lose to Argentina and still win the tournament, that will be acceptable as well. But obviously it would be nice to win against such a team.
With one year to go until the FIFA World Cup, expectations of the German national team are high. Do you feel under pressure from your own fans, or does that provide additional motivation?
It motivates and inspires us. When you run out into a stadium and everybody is waving black, red and gold flags, that gives us extra energy.
There is a lot of hype surrounding you and team-mate Lukas Podolski in particular at the moment. How do you feel about that and how do you cope with it?
I do not take too much notice of what the newspapers say. It makes me smile when I read those kind of things. Everything is exaggerated. The most important thing is that we are successful on the pitch. In any case, I do not even think Poldi or I are match-winning players.
Have you had any contact with your Argentinian team-mate Martin Demichelis?
No, not yet. But I must get around to it.
Finally, how do you see the game against Argentina going?
We will win 1-0.