Germany playing Saudi Arabia before World Cup defense

FRANKFURT, Germany — Germany will play Saudi Arabia in its last friendly game before it begins its World Cup defense in Russia.

The German soccer federation (DFB) says Joachim Loew's side will play Saudi Arabia, which will also take part in the tournament, in Leverkusen on June 8, six days after it faces Austria in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Loew says, "In Saudi Arabia we'll face a different way of playing and mentality - one that we don't know so well but will have to adjust to at the World Cup. I assume Saudi Arabia will not give us any presents, especially as the team will play the World Cup opening game against Russia a few days later."

DFB president Reinhard Grindel referred to the political situation involving Saudi Arabia, saying, "We know about the difficult human rights situation in this country and about the regional conflicts. Nevertheless, the foreign office encouraged us to go ahead with this game. Saudi Arabia is experiencing a remarkable process of openness, which is being supported by many European countries."

The World Cup begins on June 14.

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