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By ESPN Staff

Low defends Germany's Lahm, Ozil

Germany coach Joachim Low will continue to play Philipp Lahm in holding midfield and insists Mesut Ozil remains an important player for his team.

- Muller: Free kick stumble was planned
- Injury rules Mustafi out of World Cup
Germany branded 'confused, disorientated'

On Monday, Germany beat Algeria 2-1 after extra time to book a World Cup quarterfinal date with France this Friday.

The unconvincing manner of the progress, however, saw Low and his players panned by the German media, with captain Lahm coming in for particular criticism.

Low has persisted with playing Lahm as a defensive midfielder -- a position in which he has impressed for Bayern Munich -- but there is a school of thought that he would be better playing in his traditional position of full-back for Germany, in order to allow Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira to play together.

Lahm played full-back for a period against Algeria after Shkodran Mustafi suffered a muscle injury that has ruled him out for the rest of the World Cup, but Low insists the Bayern man will be back in the middle of the park against France.

Philipp Lahm and Mesut Ozil have come under fire.

Ozil, meanwhile, was criticised for his lack of influence -- despite scoring what proved to be Germany's winning goal.

"I have made my decisions, also regarding Philipp Lahm's position. And I will stand by it until the end," Low told Die Zeit. "Mesut Ozil was the outstanding player of the 2010 and 2012 tournaments. I can't just forget it. Moreover, I put a lot of trust in my players, especially when things are not running smoothly for them."

"Phillip Lahm has been a key player for us in the past years. He is playing on the highest level for ten years now."

Low said that Lahm will only return to defence "should we have a major problem at right back during a match and I say: 'Lahm can exert a lot of pressure from there.'"


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