Selfies and a theme park for world champions
Germany train for the first time in Sochi
Gifts handed out to young fans
Australia vs Germany, Monday 19 June 17.00 CEST
*By Steffen Potter with Germany *
Just a few hours after arriving in Sochi for the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, Germany held their first training session – one that provided a picture-book of pleasant images.
Following a spell of rain, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on the closely-cut grass of the immaculate training pitches, situated close to the Fisht Stadium, with the most modern theme park in the country in the background. The spectators, including approximately 40 children from a local football academy who had been invited to attend, showered the reigning world champions with warm applause.
"Ter Stegen, Ter Stegen," chanted one excited youngster, pointing towards the Barcelona goalkeeper. A short while later, the children's delight rose another notch as the German Football Association (DFB) handed out adidas t-shirts bearing the team's nickname 'Die Mannschaft' printed in Cyrillic.
Head coach Joachim Low and his staff then crossed the pitch, giving a spontaneous autograph session. Some fans pointed animatedly at Miroslav Klose: the all-time FIFA World Cup™ top scorer is in charge of training Germany's strikers and is a well-known figure here in the 2014 Winter Olympics host city.
Germany had only landed at midday, and used this light session to get used to the almost-Mediterranean climate and local conditions.
Germany's stars frequently wandered over to the barriers to pose for selfies with their fans. Cries of "Emre Can!" and "Kimmich, Kimmich!" rang out – and the players were only too happy to oblige.
The whole event was covered by a large contingent of international and German media, with some young local fans even interviewed by a Brazilian television station in a mixture of English and Russian.
All in all, Germany's first outing on Russian soil was a success. They will be hoping for more of the same in their crucial opening fixture against Australia at 17.00 (CEST) on Monday.