Despite their spectacular 4-0 victory over Australia, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has warned against overconfidence ahead of his country's second Group D game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
"We've only played one game and haven't won anything yet," the 24-year-old told FIFA. "It may have been the first step but we still need to deliver two great performances, so we have to stay calm and focused."
The Schalke custodian is clear on the approach needed for the meeting with Serbia, who slipped to a 1-0 defeat by Ghana in their tournament opener. "We just need to carry on where we left off in the first game," he said. "Obviously the whole team is burning to play and win. We have to take the euphoria from the Australia game into Friday's match and simply show a desire to win everything."
Neuer was named Germany's first choice between the sticks just a few weeks before the tournament began, after Bayer Leverkusen's Rene Adler was forced to pull out due to injury. Yet his carefree personality and modern interpretation of the art of goalkeeping have made him a very popular member of the squad, and one of the figureheads of this young band of German players.
In Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira, Marko Marin, Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber, the three-time world champions have more superb talents who are contesting their first major tournament in the senior squad, and Neuer has a simple explanation for the refreshing performance against Australia: "A lot of our young players already know each other.
"We've played together at youth level for Germany and that's why we combine so well. We're hungry, aggressive and desperate to play. That's typical of young players and I think you can see that on the pitch."
Neuer, who says Jens Lehmann and Edwin van der Sar were his heroes as a youngster, will probably have more to do against Serbia than he did against the Socceroos. And ahead of perhaps his first big chance to prove himself a worthy successor to the likes of Lehmann and Oliver Kahn, how does he see his role in this exciting Die Nationalmannschaft line-up?
"In football, you simply have to be able to rely on your goalkeeper," concluded Neuer. "The main thing is to give it your very best shot."