England's FIFA World Cup™ saviour Jermain Defoe has hailed his winner against Slovenia as the most important goal of his career and revealed the Three Lions are "buzzing" about the prospect of facing Germany in a second round showdown on Sunday.
Defoe's first-half strike was enough to give England a 1-0 win over Slovenia on Wednesday and pull Fabio Capello's squad back from the brink of an early flight home.
"It is up there," Defoe said of his goal. "What a moment. You can imagine all the phone calls and texts I had.
"It is hard to say how it felt. It is something I'd dreamt of since I was a young lad, something I'd pictured in my mind, but to actually score in a World Cup. Wow! What a feeling!"
Defoe's strike earned England a last 16 tie against their biggest rivals in Bloemfontein and Defoe said he and his team-mates were confident of overcoming a Germany side that overran Australia in their opening match but then lost to Serbia before qualifying for the knockout stage by scraping a win over Ghana.
"It is important to prepare for it just like any other game," Defoe said. "The lads are buzzing. It was great to win the game and the performance was good. Everyone worked from front to back, the spirit was great and everyone is looking forward to Germany."
England's draws in their opening matches with the United States and Algeria ensured they could only finish second in group C, meaning they have to face Germany rather than preparing for a meeting with Ghana, with Argentina possibly waiting in the quarter-finals.
"It would have been nice to face Ghana to be honest," Defoe added. "But to win a tournament you've got to face the best teams and beat them.
"Germany have looked bright, they've looked sharp. They've got a few players who've come up from the under-21s and they're well organised. When they lose the ball they get back in their shape quickly and they are difficult to play against.
"But it is important to stay positive and think positive. Germany are a great football nation and they are fantastic in tournaments but we are a great side too. We were in a tough situation yesterday and we coped, we won the game."
Defoe played down the reports of unrest in England's camp that had overshadowed the build-up to the Slovenia match, with Capello obliged to slap down John Terry for publicly questioning the way the campaign was being run.
"I really don't think there have been any problems," Defoe said. "It is always difficult when you are not winning games and players are a bit low at times. When you win everyone is happy and the lads are buzzing today. Everything is cool. The manager has been brilliant. He picks you up. After the first game he just said 'keep going, you're great players' and that is nice to hear."
The striker shrugged off a suggestion by German legend Franz Beckenbauer that England looked tired as a result of the players' gruelling club season and absence of the winter break common in other European leagues.
"I certainly don't feel tired," he said. "The Premier League is one of the toughest to play in and if you are playing in Europe and in cups as well there are a lot of games. But if you look after your body and prepare right, it should not be a problem."
While England have been practising penalties on a daily basis since they began their preparations for South Africa a month ago, Defoe admitted he hopes Sunday's match does not come to that.
"Hopefully we can win it in the 90 minutes, we're good enough to do that."