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Jul 3, 2014

Low blames Prem for England failure

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti gives his projected lineups for Germany in their quarter-final matchup with France.

Germany boss Joachim Low believes England's World Cup disaster was in part caused by the high percentage of foreign players in the Premier League.

Low, speaking ahead of his side's World Cup quarterfinal in France, said by contrast Germany is benefiting from a lot of young players coming through into the Bundesliga.

England finished the World Cup officially 31st out of the 32 teams, having scored two goals and secured only one point in three matches from a goalless draw.

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The Germany coach brought up the predicament facing England boss Roy Hodgson unprompted after being asked about the value of having some players being based in the Spanish and English leagues.

"Of course the English league has a disadvantage with a higher percentage of foreigners playing there and it becomes difficult for the national coach to get things moving," Low said. "I think having many foreigners playing there is part of England's problem.

"Since 2009, things have changed for us and lots of young German players are coming through. We have a good blend, a strong league with three teams who are among the best in Europe with experience in tough competitions but I am not unhappy if some play in a foreign country and see other cultures and other coaches.

Joachim Low said Germany has excelled because so many German players see action in the Bundesliga.

"Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira do for example and that can be of value and they can learn new things so I think it is valuable if the individual players go abroad."

Only around a third of Premier League players are English while 60 percent of the Bundesliga is German.

Low also confirmed that defender Mats Hummels is available after an illness and the Borussia Dortmund centre-back is expected to return with right-back Shkodran Mustafi out injured.

The only uncertainty is whether Philipp Lahm plays as right-back or as a holding midfielder.

Low admitted Germany had played "very poorly" in the first half of the 2-1 win over Algeria but that had "proved they could fight."

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer played a key role against Germany, often operating as a sweeper a long way outside of his area, and Low said the Bayern Munich stopper is so technically good that he could even play in midfield.

"If a team tries to play high the way we did against USA and Algeria the keeper cannot just stay in his box," he added. "Manuel Neuer has the same technical skills as the others, he could play in the midfield, he also has great awareness and that's why we are happy for him to take these risks, and that's why he's so valuable.

"He can basically be a player behind the defence."

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos told a news conference that there had been do decision over his future despite reports in Spain that he has agreed to move to Real Madrid.

"I want to concentrate on the World Cup and as soon as this tournament is over a decision will be taken -- nothing has been decided," Kroos said.

Germany's leading scorer Thomas Muller believes criticism of the performance against Algeria was exaggerated.

"The way things have been interpreted and transmitted is wrong," he said.

"We have won what was a tight game. Even if we had to go through extra-time to get it, we deserved to go through. We weren't up against a Mickey Mouse team."

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