- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: FOOTBALL/SOCCER - Germany confident in World Cup despite injuries
- Date: 8th June 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) FAN ROB WATSON SAYING: "Iam excited. I have never been so close to professional footballers before. IÂ´d like to see them und its gonna be very cool."
- Embargoed: 23rd June 2010 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA9D5BJ2E1FAY5Y4ZEHYSUBCB1R
- Story Text: Germany's soccer squad are brimming with confidence about the World Cup despite setbacks with Marcel Meier saying Germany is sure to make the semi-finals.
A confident German soccer squad trained at their base just outside Pretoria only hours after arriving in Johannesburg on Monday (June 7).
"I think Philipp Lahm will be a good captain. I also like the new goalkeeper, I think he will do well. Then Mesud Ã–zil will do well at the tournament. And I think we will definitely make the finals," said Marcel Meier.
Injuries have so far ruled out captain Michael Ballack and four other players, severely restricting Loew's options in midfield for the June 11-July 11 tournament and robbing his team of its natural leader.
But two comfortable wins against Hungary and Bosnia in the past days have shown the Germans were able to successfully absorb the shock of these withdrawals, with the team playing at times mesmerizing football.
While coach Joachim Loew still has to finalize his choices for the defense and attack, he seems to have decided on his new-look midfield.
Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger have made a seamless transition from supporting actors under Ballack to playing leading roles, combining beautifully to initiate Germany's offensive play from their holding midfield positions.
Thomas Mueller also looks to have edged out any rivals for a spot on the wings after fine performances from the 20-year-old.
Overall Ballack's injury looks to have been a blessing in disguise with the team playing more freely, his responsibilities shared by more than just one player.
Germany take on Australia in their first Group D match on June 13. They then play Serbia and Ghana.
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