You can practice penalties too much - Low wary over Germany shootout reputation

Germany's shootout prowess was to the fore on Tuesday as their Under-21s beat England but Joachim Low would rather his side avoid penalties.

Penalties were high on the agenda ahead of Germany's Confederations Cup semi-final against Mexico, although head coach Joachim Low does not want his players to become fixated on the possibility of a shootout at Fisht Stadium.

On Tuesday, Germany's Under-21 team – with a sense of historic inevitability – overcame England 4-3 on penalties to book a place in the final of the European Championship.

At the world champions' team hotel in Sochi, Low and his players lapped up the spectacle.

"Last night, many of the players, along with the coaching staff and backroom team watched the Under-21 match and we were really supporting them flat out," Low told his pre-match news conference.

"Obviously, we were really happy and joined in cheering them because these are players that we know very well and some of the people here on the team play in clubs with them."

Nevertheless, Low is keen for his squad, which features eight players who themselves would have been eligible to represent the Under-21s in Poland, to get the job done inside the distance against Mexico.

The long-serving coach reminded his players that, despite Germany's traditional prowess in tournament shootouts, they stumbled through a penalty ordeal against Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, while he is unsure over the merits of repeatedly practicing from 12 yards.

"I don't know if we are going to train for the penalty shootout," he said. "Sometimes some players are doing it after training in their own time.

"We had players at Euro 2016, where I told them that scoring so many penalties after training could leave them with an occasional penalty that would not go into the goal. Then, versus Italy, we were not necessarily the best penalty scorers – you all remember that!

"Sometimes it is not good to train too much on the penalty shootout because everything will be different in the match situation when it occurs.

"You have to see how it goes and see who is still on the pitch, who would be in a position to do it, who is bold and brave enough.

"In the Italy match, they substituted a player just before full-time and thought he was a good scorer," Low added, in reference to Simone Zaza, who missed wildly after taking a bizarrely comedic run-up in Bordeaux.

Jonas Hector netted the decisive kick in that epic contest but, speaking before his boss, the Cologne left-back showed no desire to be the hero once more.

"I was never really a great penalty scorer. At the time there were others who had taken precedence," he said.

"I didn't quite expect for that penalty shootout to take so long. We'll see how it goes and what happens if I'm the one to approach the mark or not."