After nearly nine months on the sidelines, Manuel Neuer is all set to go to the World Cup as Germany's No.1. - © © imago
After nearly nine months on the sidelines, Manuel Neuer is all set to go to the World Cup as Germany's No.1. - © © imago

Manuel Neuer given all-clear; will go to the FIFA 2018 World Cup as Germany's No.1


Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been given the all-clear to play for defending champions Germany at the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Neuer underwent his final MRI scan less than 24 hours after making his long-awaited comeback in Saturday's World Cup warm-up defeat to Austria. The 32-year-old will now travel to Russia as Germany's No.1.

"You couldn't tell that he'd been out for so long," said Germany head coach Joachim Löw after Neuer, whose performance against Austria belied a near nine-month absence through injury. "It was a fantastic comeback. He played very well and made two or three brilliant saves. It was hugely satisfying."

The game in Klagenfurt was Neuer's third appearance of the week, following welcome run-outs in behind-closed-doors friendlies against and then between the posts for the Germany U20s.

Mario Gomez came off the bench against Austria and could not speak highly enough of his former Bayern team-mate's return to fitness and form.

"It's fascinating to see his fitness and body language so strong after being out for eight months," Gomez said. "I'm really happy for him because I know how much he's done for this comeback. He's our captain, our most important player, and therefore I'm really happy."

Neuer's participation at this summer's World Cup hung in the balance for much of the recently ended domestic campaign. The former Schalke custodian had amassed just 360 minutes of competitive football before being sidelined by a second metatarsal fracture in the space of six months last September, but already appears to be nearing his world-beating best.

"I've been able to watch Manu in training for the last 10 days," said Germany midfielder Sami Khedira. "For me, he looks 100 percent fit. We're really happy that he's back with the team."

Neuer's timely return will come as music to the ears of Löw, who last week confirmed that the Germany captain would travel to the finals as his No.1 or not at all.

Watch: Manuel Neuer's top 5 saves

Germany, who face Saudi Arabia in a friendly on 8 June, begin their World Cup campaign against Mexico in Moscow on 17 June. Sweden and South Korea complete Group F.

Löw is set to name his final 23-man squad on 4 June.