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Loew resists calls for change

Germany boss Joachim Loew insists he will not move Philipp Lahm back to his previous position of full-back ahead of the World Cup quarter-final with France.

Lahm was transformed into a midfielder by Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola last season - a position he has also adopted for his national side before returning to right-back during the extra-time win over Algeria following the injury to Shkodran Mustafi.

Many back home have called for Lahm's move to be made permanent as Germany have struggled to repeat the fluency of their opening game of the tournament, when they thrashed Portugal 4-0.

But Loew told Die Zeit: "I have made up my mind already on Philipp Lahm's role. And I am sticking by it to the very end.

"Philipp Lahm has been a leading figure for us in recent years and he's been playing at the highest level for a decade, but he will only move back into defence if we have a problem on the right, at which point I might say 'okay, now it's up to Philipp who can push forwards down the right.'

"But that would only be an emergency scenario, and we need to prevent there being an emergency."

Arsenal forward Mesut Ozil has also attracted criticism from Germany's fans after some underwhelming performances in Brazil, but Loew was quick to defend the former Real Madrid man.

"Mesut is extremely important to us," he said. "The criticism of him is just as incomprehensible as that for Lahm.

"Sometimes things get published a little too hastily and I don't feel the right weight is given to certain things.

"You can't always play fantastic football at a World Cup," he added. "You've just got to leave the field triumphant, and that's what we did.

"We have worked hard, both during the preparation in South Tyrol and here in Brazil, and realised what we must improve.

"It's only normal that you keep on learning throughout a tournament, and this also helps you recognise your team's finesse."

Only Mustafi was unable to train on Wednesday with his World Cup already over, but Mats Hummels, who missed the Algeria game due to a fever, is ready to face the French.