SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio said Germany’s young squad are experienced and will not be underestimated when the teams meet in the Confederations Cup semi-finals on Thursday.
Germany, the World Cup holders, and CONCACAF champions Mexico were unbeaten in their respective groups, each finishing with two wins and a draw in three matches.
Germany have rested their more seasoned players for the two-week tournament in Russia that serves as a dress rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup, with coach Joachim Loew bringing several newcomers into a squad with an average age of just over 24.
“I think we’re going to play against a team that can be a great example to follow for those who believe in processes, in development,” Osorio told a news conference on Wednesday.
“I think being young and having experience are two different things.”
He stressed that many of the Germany squad had extensive experience with the national team as well as from playing in the top European leagues and the Champions League.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re young or not. What really matters is how much experience they have although they are young,” Osorio said.
Loew told reporters on Wednesday he did not regret selecting such a young squad for the tournament because it served as a good opportunity to test their strengths.
“It has worked really well as we’ve seen,” Loew said of his team’s performances so far.
Mexico — who finished second in Group A on seven points behind Portugal on goal difference — knocked out hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in their final group match last week.
Portugal face Chile in the first semi-final on Wednesday in Kazan for a place in Sunday’s final in Saint Petersburg.
(Reporting by Moscow Newsroom; editing by Ken Ferris)