Germany show rustiness in draw with feisty Cameroon
MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany - World Cup contenders Germany came from a goal down to draw 2-2 with hard-working Cameroon on Sunday in their penultimate game before this month's tournament in Brazil, showing they still have work to do to fine-tune their title challenge.
The Germans, who play Armenia on June 6 in their final warm-up, looked some way off top form as they seek to end an 18-year trophy drought, missing several key players including captain Philipp Lahm and first-choice keeper Manuel.
Germany coach Joachim Loew, who on Monday will name his final 23-man squad, said the game highlighted the work they still need to do.
"This was a good opponent, a tough test against strong, physical players," Loew told reporters.
"One could see that we lacked a bit of freshness but that's normal after our 10-day training camp. But we have seen that there are things we still need to do, that's clear."
"We were not good in our passing game and that got us into trouble repeatedly. We had some chances but we lack the final finish. We need to find that efficiency we have been missing for some time. We currently take too many chances to score."
Cameroon's German coach Volker Finke was satisfied with his team's performance, saying eight or nine players from Sunday's game would be starting in their group match against Mexico.
"There are still things to improve but the result was very good four our confidence," he said.
He also said he was happy to see leading striker Samuel Eto'o, who tapped in for the lead, perform well despite a knee problem.
"I am happy Eto'o was able to play for as much as he did tonight," he said.
"We will wait for tomorrow to see how his knee has reacted to it."
Loew's side almost got off to a perfect start when Mesut Ozil, completely unmarked in front of goal, somehow managed to shoot wide seconds after the kickoff.
The Germans, drawn with Ghana, the United States and Portugal in Group G, came close again as attacking midfielder Mario Goetze, playing as a lone striker, sent in a low drive which was turned on to the post by Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje.
Cameroon, playing hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico in Group A, had trouble containing their opponents' pace down the wings and needed to wait around 20 minutes before Samuel Eto'o got a shot on target.
A series of tough tackles from the Africans threw the hosts off balance and gave the visitors the initiative.
German keeper Roman Weidenfeller was called into action late in the first half, making a superb save in the 39th minute when Eto'o sent Benjamin Moukandjo clear and he also blocked a close-range Joel Matip effort.
Cameroon stunned the Germans in the 62nd minute when Eto'o's shot was saved by Weidenfeller but the forward was in the right place to tap in a subsequent cross.
Their joy was short-lived, however, with Thomas Mueller charging into the box to head in a Jerome Boateng cross four minutes later and Andre Schuerrle tapping in after a surging run by substitute Lukas Podolski.
But Cameroon refused to lie down and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting confirmed his outstanding form this season with Mainz 05, picking up the ball outside the box and drilling an unstoppable left-foot shot past Weidenfeller in the 78th minute.
"We did not do it very well tonight," Mueller said. "We made it hard for ourselves. We should have taken an earlier lead and then we also dropped our pace late in the first half."
"That's not good because at the World Cup we have to be focused over 90 minutes. There is still work to be done."
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)