Loew dampens Lahm captaincy flare-up

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Germany coach Joachim Loew has defended his captain Philipp Lahm ahead of their World Cup semi-final encounter against Spain in Durban.

The Bayern Munich defender has been the centre of an unnecessary controversy brewing in the German camp after comments that he wanted to remain as skipper even when the injured Michael Ballack returns after the tournament.

Lahm was speaking to a German newspaper less than 48 hours before the crucial encounter, but Loew said: "That does not bother us at all.

"He spoke honestly about what he thinks. He has been enjoying the added responsibility and he has done his job here in an exemplary fashion.

"Philipp said he would like to continue but he also said he knows it is up to the coach to decide after the World Cup."

The distraction in the German camp has slightly overshadowed the build-up for the three-time champions, who will be desperate to make up for their disappointment against the Spaniards in the European championship final two years ago.