COLOGNE, Germany- Sami Khedira said world champions Germany proved their never-say-die spirit as Lars Stindl’s last-gasp equaliser preserved their 21-match unbeaten run in Tuesday’s 2-2 friendly draw against France.
A first international double by Alexandre Lacazette in Cologne put France on the verge of a deserved victory in a clash of two of the favourites for next year’s World Cup.
The Arsenal striker scored either side of a Timo Werner goal, before Stindl struck in the 93rd minute to maintain Germany’s unbeaten run dating back to their 2-0 defeat by France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
“We had some luck in the first half, but we also had our chances to score,” said Khedira, Germany’s stand-in captain with Manuel Neuer injured.
“It is quite normal when playing in different line-ups that you have one or two problems,” he added after Germany made six changes from Friday’s goalless draw with England.
“I think that we have been able to compete at a very high level overall this year.
“We pressed hard after the break.
“We conceded the goal from nothing to make it 2-1, but we also showed the morale to come back from behind.”
France coach Didier Deschamps admitted he was disappointed with the draw.
“It’s a bit disappointing, we were close to getting the win,” said the 1998 World Cup winner.
“We didn’t pay enough attention at the end, but we made life hard for a strong German team.”
Having rescued Germany’s unbeaten run with the equaliser, Stindl said the result capped a good year for Germany, who qualified for next year’s World Cup with a perfect 10 wins from 10 qualifiers.
“Luckily we scored in the last attack,” said the Moenchengladbach forward, who scored Germany’s winning goal in the Confederations Cup final in July.
“All in all, we have put in two good performances against two strong opponents, and I think it was an all-round successful 2017 for the German FA.”
Germany head coach Joachim Loew said he was content both with the result in Cologne and the stalemate at Wembley against England.
“First of all, I’m very happy with both tests against England and France – they were two tests at the highest level.
“We played better in the second half, after not everything worked out the way we expected in the first.
“It can always happen that you are behind at the break, we wanted to put more pressure in the second half and then we got our chance.”
Germany host Spain and Brazil in friendlies next March as the holders tune up for their defence of the World Cup title in Russia next June.
Pleasingly for Loew, Mario Goetze, who hit the winner in the 2014 World Cup final, came on for his first international appearance since last November, after illness and injury, to set up the equaliser.
“It was a positive story for me today and a step in the right direction and I’m glad I’m back in. That was a great thing for me,” said the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.