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Neuer shines for Germany juniors in W. Cup warm-up

Germany captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer took another step towards the 2018 World Cup with a good performance for Germany juniors against the senior team in a practice match on Wednesday at the Rungghof training center in Girlan, northern Italy. © AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA

BERLIN, Germany, May 30Manuel Neuer took another step towards the World Cup, after eight months sidelined with injury, by impressing in a training match for Germany’s Under-20 against the senior team on Wednesday.

Germany’s captain and goalkeeper, who suffered a fractured foot last September, impressed for the junior team in a 2-0 defeat by the senior Germany team.

He was only beaten by a Thomas Mueller penalty and a goal from Julian Draxler in the shortened training match, which was 35 minutes per half.

“He faced some shots on goal and made a few very good saves. It is another step in the right direction,” said Germany’s assistant coach Thomas Schneider.

On Monday, Neuer played his first game back in a 7-1 win over the Under-20 team at Germany’s World Cup training camp in north Italy, but his presence in the junior goal made for a much closer scoreline on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Neuer will play his first full match after injury in Germany’s friendly away game against Austria in Klagenfurt.

Germany head coach Joachim Loew has said Neuer will travel to the World Cup as his first-choice providing he proves his fitness ahead of their opening game against Mexico in Moscow on June 17.

Loew has taken 27 players with him for their training camp, including four ‘keepers, with four to be cut before the list of the official 23-man squad is delivered to FIFA on Monday.

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