Germany captain Philipp Lahm has backed his team to bounce back from their shock defeat to Serbia by beating Ghana in Johannesburg on Wednesday and booking a place in the last 16 at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Lahm's side suffered an upset on Friday when star striker Miroslav Klose was dismissed for a second yellow card before Milan Jovanovic's first-half strike gave the Serbians a 1-0 win, throwing Group D wide open.
It was Germany's first first group stage defeat at a FIFA World Cup since losing to Denmark in 1986 and brought them crashing down to earth after their impressive opening 4-0 rout of Australia. But Lahm says his side must erase memories of the defeat and build on their battling second-half display.
"I think we as players have to look forward, not back, we need to resume where we finished off in the second-half," said Lahm. "Our passes must be better and the reason I am not worried is because the team has shown in the past they can bounce back from this. Despite the defeat, we played imaginatively against Serbia and we can raise our game against Ghana."
The reason I am not worried is because the team has shown in the past they can bounce back from this.
Lahm is still counting on plenty of support to help his side make the second round. "I think what fans have seen is there is a team on the pitch who are intact, confidence is still high and there are no recriminations going on," he said.
"I feel the fans are still behind us and, with their support, we will reach the last 16. There is an obvious disappointment for us as we wanted to book our place in the last 16, which didn't happen, plus there was the red card and the missed penalty. There was fury and indignation in the dressing room, but we have to accept it.
Lahm says the days of weak teams making up the numbers at a FIFA World Cup are over. "There are no push overs at this level," said the 26-year-old. "Serbia are not in the top three or five teams in the world, but weak teams are a thing of the past. We said before the World Cup that there are no easy games, Ghana are fast, but I am sure we will get plenty of chances against them. Look at Spain, they played with flair, skill and style, but still lost their opening game (to Switerzland)."
Having been billed as one of the top sides at the South Africa 2010 after their high-tempo hammering of Australia, Lahm now expects a backlash from the media. "We were jazzed up after match one, so it is only normal the press would come down on us like a tonne of bricks," said the Bayern Munich defender. "But I don't think we played badly, we will resume where we left off against Australia with quick passing, high-tempo football and take our chances."