ERASMIA: Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said on Sunday Germany`s rising stars have the potential to become future World Cup winners after finishing third at the World Cup finals.
"We have come even closer to the top five teams in the world, there is a bit of a tear in my eye thinking of the semi-final we lost, but there is a smile in the other one as we showed both heart and courage against Uruguay," said Schweinsteiger, who is just 25 but one of the veterans with 81 caps.
"If we keep improving like this, sooner or later the trophy will be ours."
Germany beat Uruguay 3-2 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday to win the third place play-off after losing 1-0 to Spain in last Wednesday`s semi-final.
The side were due to fly back to Germany on Sunday night at the same time the final takes place in Johannesburg between Spain and the Netherlands, but captain Philipp Lahm says more is to come from this side.
"We have a very good chance in the coming years to play at the top. We are still nowhere near the end of our development," said 26-year-old Lahm.
"We must continue to work hard. But we have a lot of quality and must be optimistic looking ahead."
This Germany squad was the second-youngest side to compete at a World Cup finals with an average age of just under 25.
"We have nothing to worry about," said forward Lukas Podolski, who like Lahm and Schweinsteiger was a member of the team that also finished third in the 2006 finals in Germany.
"We have a young group and will compete again for the title," added the 25-year-old.
Ten players of the 23-man World Cup squad in South Africa are under 25, while Bayern Munich`s Thomas Mueller, who has scored five goals here, is the red-hot favourite to win the best young player award.
"This team is the future, it is viable that it will only reach its zenith in a few years," predicted Joachim Loew, who has yet to decide whether he will stay on as head coach.
"The culture of our game is doing well," added the 50-year-old.
BDST: 1838hrs, July 11, 2010