Australia are bracing for a huge test against Germany in their FIFA World Cup™ opener tomorrow in Durban.
Socceroos captain Lucas Neill had admitted that even if his team are at their best, that still might not be good enough to beat the Germans.
"There is never a good time to face a team like Germany," said Neill. "It doesn't get any tougher than taking on one of the best teams in the world. Germany are favourites. They are a superior side to us, they have earned that right and we still have to earn that.
"Germany are consistent, they have players in the best leagues in Europe. They are a nation that expects to get to semi-finals and finals in every tournament. We all regard Germany as the best team in this group."
Germany, who last won the FIFA World Cup in 1990, usually hit the group running.
"I don't think they have lost their past 12 opening World Cup games," said Neill. It's probably the toughest game to be playing. We know we will have to be at our very, very best."
With games against Ghana and Serbia also awaiting Australia, Neill knows it will take a huge undertaking for his side to reach the last 16 as they did in 2006.
"All three games are going to be tough," said Neill. "There is pressure heading into the first game because everyone knows that if you lose, it's difficult to progress to the next stage. We know how tough it is going to be. No one is getting carried away. We face the three most difficult games in our career. We respect all our opponents but we will not go to our game with fear."
We know we will have to be at our very, very best.
The Galatasaray defenders has praised the way that coach Pim Verbeek has prepared the Australia players mentally.
"We are keen to get going after intense training in recent weeks," said Neill. "We now want to reap the rewards. We have prepared as best as we could. Physically we feel good and mentally we feel refreshed. I think our whole progression has been amazing. We come here in the best possible shape."
Germany have apparently singled Everton midfielder Tim Cahill as the biggest threat in tomorrow's clash but Neill says Australia's strength is not based on individual talent, while admitting he does not even know whether Cahill will be fit to start.
"We don't know if Tim is going to play or not," said Neill. "If Germany focus their attention on him, then the rest of us will have to step up. But our team doesn't rely on one given player, we rely on all our players to do well and that is why I think we have a good team."
While Germany have their youngest team in the FIFA World Cup since 1934, Neill believes Joachim Low's side remains a powerhouse.
"Age and experience counts for nothing," said Neill. "What it comes down on the day is the 11 who play against 11. Germany may have a young team but all their players have plenty of experience."
Neill has promised the Green and Gold fans that their team are here to make history.
"This is only our third World Cup," said Neill. "We want to make this the best tournament ever for Australia. We are very proud to be here. The way 2006 ended for us left us all hungry to return. Hopefully we can improve and win the World Cup for Australia one day."