Germany defender Arne Friedrich feels his side can ill afford a repeat of last night's performance against Ghana if they are to overcome England and reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup™ this weekend.

Germany set up the mouth-watering last-16 showdown with their old rivals by defeating Ghana 1-0 to finish top of Group D, two points above the second-placed African side.

However, it was not the most convincing of displays by Joachim Low's side against the Black Stars, and Friedrich believes they will need to do much better against England.

"Truth be told yesterday's game was not all that brilliant," said the veteran defender.

"I think we're self-critical enough to realise that yesterday's performance will not be sufficient for the England game, and that goes for all parts of the team, defence, midfield and forwards.

"At the back we allowed the opposition far too many opportunities to score, and the midfield and forwards haven't managed to create as many goalscoring opportunities as we would've wished."

Friedrich believes nerves played a part in the performance, with the possibility of Germany facing an early exit from the tournament if things went wrong.

England have gone through several phases and in terms of their match experiences they are certainly favourites, but the Ghana game has made us mentally stronger and at least as mentally strong as to hold our own against England

Arne Friedrich, Germany defender.

Low's bright young side started their campaign with an impressive 4-0 defeat of Australia, but were then brought back to earth in their second Group D match as they lost 1-0 to Serbia.

That defeat meant the European powerhouses could have been dumped out of the FIFA World Cup if results had gone against them yesterday, and that would indeed have been the case if they had lost to Ghana with Australia beating Serbia in the other match.

Germany eased their way through though, and Friedrich believes the whole experience will stand them in good stead for the England game in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon.

"I put it down to pre-match tension, we were really, really afraid of suffering the worst-case scenario. But that is something we have to put behind us and I think we will," said the 31-year-old, who won his 75th cap last night.

"We will certainly learn from the match, we have a very young team and I think it was important for everyone to go through that kind of pressure. We're all on a learning curve and we had very little to gain and a whole lot to lose because everybody back home thought we would reach the last 16."

England have not been at their best in South Africa either, and they also faced a nervy final group match against Slovenia before sealing their spot in the last 16 with a 1-0 win yesterday.

Friedrich believes there is little between the sides but feels Fabio Capello's men hold the slight upper hand due to the greater experience they have in their ranks.

"England have gone through several phases and in terms of their match experiences they are certainly favourites, but the Ghana game has made us mentally stronger and at least as mentally strong as to hold our own against England," Friedrich said.

"Both nations are major football nations. If you look at the individual players England certainly have a slight advantage. We as Germans have an advantage that we are a team who have always got into their stride as the tournament goes on.

"It's a completely open match but, as I said, we need to play differently than we did against Ghana. We were slightly inhibited against Ghana, because we always had that worst-case scenario at the back of our minds, but that has been released, the steam has been let-off, and we can approach the England game freer.

"England clearly haven't had the best tournament so far, I don't think they themselves will be convinced that they've impressed anyone. It's absolutely 50-50, totally in the open."