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Friedrich playing waiting game

Arne Friedrich was not involved in Germany's opening 2-0 defeat of Poland but the versatile Hertha BSC Berlin defender is ready to play his part when needed.

Arne Friedrich is having to bide his time for Germany
Arne Friedrich is having to bide his time for Germany ©Getty Images

Germany defender Arne Friedrich may not have been involved in the opening 2-0 defeat of Poland but the Hertha BSC Berlin man is ready to play his part when called on.

Coach Joachim Löw praised the versatile 29-year-old in a press conference on Tuesday and Friedrich, capped 57 times, confirmed that he was eager to get playing. "I am naturally delighted about the praise and I feel really good at the moment but in spite of that it is, of course, difficult for a player to be left on the bench at the beginning of a tournament," he said. "After all, I was first choice at the last two big tournaments."

Ready to play
Friedrich was a starter at UEFA EURO 2004™ and the 2006 FIFA World Cup but he admits that after Sunday's Group B win he expects to be on the bench again when Germany take on Croatia in Klagenfurt on Thursday. "The team did very well in the formation in which they played and, considering that, the coach won't want to make any changes," he said. "If he does wish to use me, though, I am of course ready. They will surely play a lot deeper than Poland did in the first game. They have a very experienced central defence and they won't make life easy for us. Nevertheless, I am quite sure that we will win."

Fans pleased
Equally optimistic is assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick. "I think we have a good chance of winning this game, although we are up against a Croatia side who are defensively very strong with fantastic individual players," he said. "We won't be overawed by that, though, and will attempt to impose our game on our opponents. Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and ourselves have displayed the best attacking football thus far. That's what the fans want to see and it's what we want to offer."