World Cup legend Lothar Matthaus dishes out advice for Hong Kong’s young football talent
The former Germany captain gives his predictions for next summer’s tournament while on a trip to Hong Kong
It’s never too late to learn in soccer – this was the advice given by German World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthaus to Hong Kong’s young players.
Now a television pundit and newspaper columnist, the 56-year-old – who led West Germany to glory in 1990 – is on a promotional trip to Hong Kong with Puma.
“I started to learn how to use my left foot to score when I was 27,” said Matthaus, who was speaking to three young Hong Kong players – Chan Kwong-bun of Southern, Yu Wai-lim of Yuen Long and Marco Wegener of Lee Man.
“Before my left foot was only for running, but then I scored a lot of goals with it. It is never too late in soccer.”
Matthaus rated his own country, the defending champions, as favourites for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
And he should know a thing or two – his five World Cups finals appearances (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998) and 25 games are more than any other player has featured in.
“The World Cup is the biggest soccer tournament in the world with all the best teams coming to Russia,” he said. “But Germany is still the team with the players who can win the World Cup.
“We have a balanced squad with good players in every position. We have the best goalkeeper with Manuel Neuer, two reliable central defenders, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, both of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich up front. Not to mention the best coach in the world, Joachim Low.”
Matthaus paid tribute to Germany’s academy system, touting their victory in this year’s Uefa Under-21 Championship.
But he said Germany will face fierce competition in Russia from Brazil, who are experiencing a renaissance under new coach Tite, and the youth and pace of France.
Matthaus said Spain are also a “dark horse” who should not be dismissed as they always produce talented players.
“The World Cup is very special and each World Cup there is always a surprise,” he said. “You have to be concentrated from the first match to the last match before you can win the trophy.”