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Japan's tactical prowess shines through

U-17 World Cup
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Low delays Germany captaincy decision

Germany coach Joachim Low claims he has not yet given serious thought to who will captain his team in European Championship qualifying.

The issue has dominated the sports agenda in Germany ever since the World Cup when Philipp Lahm wore the armband with regular skipper Michael Ballack recovering from an ankle injury.

After the tournament Bayern Munich full-back Lahm outlined his intention to stay in the role while new Bayer Leverkusen signing Ballack is equally adamant he will regain it now he is fully fit.

Despite representatives from both Bayern and Leverkusen backing their men, Low is adamant he hasn't given it much thought.

"I haven't even started the discussion and I certainly won't allow any outside pressures to influence me," Low told Kicker. "(But) I won't hesitate, I know what (I have) to do.

"Philipp and Michael have expressed their opinions, I accept their statements. I will talk to them in due course and then evaluate the situation.''

Germany impressed at the World Cup, Low's enterprising young team reaching the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Spain.

The emphasis on youth - and the success which followed - has led many in Germany to question whether there is still a role in the squad for 33-year-old Ballack. But Low is adamant the former Bayern and Chelsea man still has a lot to offer.

"He has never slowed the game down. On the contrary he has always brought very good results,'' Low said.

"Michael has played for some top clubs over the years, he has played regularly and physically has always made a good impression. I think he will now play a key role in Leverkusen.''

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