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Tough road ahead for 3-time World Cup champs Germany

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Tough road ahead for 3-time World Cup champs Germany

Post  Justin_Romile on Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:24 pm

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Historically, Group D would appear to be easy for Germany, a three-time World Cup winner and four-time runner-up. But Australia and Ghana are two nations on the rise in the football world and Serbia, while lacking any kind of consistency, has the talent to beat anyone.

The 1954, ’74 and ’90 World Cup winners as West Germany haven’t won football’s biggest prize since reunification 20 years ago, and the team failed to reach the final on home soil four years ago.

With Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski, Michael Ballack and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the team still has the nucleus of a talented and well-organized side. But uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Joachim Loew, who has yet to agree to a deal to stay on after the World Cup in South Africa, could lead to low morale within the squad.

Germany’s first game is against the Australians in Durban on June 13. While the Germans don’t know Loew’s future after the World Cup, the Australians now know that coach Pim Verbeek will not be staying on. The Dutchman has already announced that he is looking for a new challenge, so the Socceroos will likely want to give him something to remember.

After an impressive first round in 2006, the Australians were knocked out by eventual winner Italy after a disputed penalty in the final minute. With talented players such as Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer in the lineup and a never-say-die attitude, the Aussies are capable of giving the Germans a tough opening group game.

Serbia and Ghana go head-to-head at altitude at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, also on June 13. Ghana, the first African team to qualify for the 2010 championship and also the only one to make it to the knockout phase four years ago, has a talented young team, many of whom won the Under-20 World Cup last year.

Although Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has missed most of the season because of a knee injury, he should be fit again for the World Cup.

The Serbs have talented players who rarely travel well and often lack cohesion as a team.

Now, coach Radomir Antic has the task of blending players such as Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic, Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic together. If the former coach of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona succeeds, the Serbs can make a big impact.

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