Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer says it is up to the experienced players in the squad to ensure morale remains high in the wake of the 4-0 thrashing by Germany in their opening group game.
The Socceroos, who returned to their Johannesburg base from Durban immediately after Sunday night's defeat, have only a few days to regroup before their next clash against Ghana in Rustenberg on Saturday. Another defeat there and Australia could be eliminated from the FIFA World Cup™ even before their final group game against Serbia in Nelspruit on Wednesday week.
However Schwarzer believes this situation is where the amount of experience in the team - with 14 of the 23-man squad having also played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup - will come in handy. "We have got to forget about the Germany game, as difficult as it is," he said. "We have got to regroup and pick ourselves up and make sure everyone, but especially the senior guys, get together and rallies and make sure we put everything into the next two games."
When asked if the amount of experience in the Socceroos squad would benefit the team in the bid to recover quickly from such a devastating defeat, Schwarzer replied: "Of course it does. You have got use your experience now to rally everyone," said Australia's most experienced player in the squad, with 76 caps to his credit. "Obviously it's a bitter start for us but everyone expected this to happen (the team losing to Germany in the first game) so I suppose we are not in any worse position than people expected us to be."
We still believe we are good enough to get through and we still believe we can pick ourselves up.
Schwarzer, who admitted he was at fault for Germany's second goal in Durban when Miroslav Klose headed home from a cross that the veteran Aussie keeper believes he should have collected, said the Socceroos still had their fate in their own hands in terms of qualifying. He said realistically three-time winner Germany were always going to be one of the teams to qualify from Group D, with the Socceroos locked in a three-way battle with their next two opponents Ghana and Serbia for the other qualifying spot for the second round.
"It was always going to be tough playing Germany first game, everyone said we were up against it and everyone wrote us off and I suppose that was justifiable given the result was 4-0," he said. "But we still believe we are good enough to get through and we still believe we can pick ourselves up.
"There is a lot of work to be done but we have enough ability to change things around and we have got two more games to go and for us they are like two cup finals and we know now we have to win both games (to get through to the second round)."