Even without team leader Michael Ballack for this year's games, the Germans are confident they will breeze through group play and head deep into the 2010 World Cup.
Germany is on a mission. To say the Germans are cocky is a gross understatement. From their players to their management, the Germans are out to embarrass teams in the 2010 World Cup . Starting with Australia.
Soccer betting odds suggest they will do just that. Germany is a minus 235 favorite at Durban Stadium for Sunday's 2:30 p.m. (ET) match with the Socceroos. Australia is the decided plus 600 underdog with a draw plus 335.
The 'over/under' for the seventh soccer match on this year's World Cup slate is 2.5.
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Germany has been far removed from its World Cup winning glory for many years now, and is due for a deep run into the tournament. The Germans were a semifinalist during the 2006 World Cup, but for a country with such high expectations on their soccer squad, coming away without the trophy on home soil was considered nothing but a disappointment.
The loss of Michael Ballack a month ago has certainly thrown a wrench into the Germans' works at this World Cup, and they aren’t heading into group play with the team that they had hoped. Without this cornerstone of their team in place with Ballack, the German side is in danger of losing their identity before their first game even starts.
Australia is far from an international soccer powerhouse, but is capable of surprising even the most talented international squads with athleticism. The Australians stunned many at the 2006 World Cup, but the 2010 side is essentially the same team, just four years older. And for a team that relies on their physicality to win games, that is not a good recipe for success.
Germany will be using this game as an adjustment to settle in without Ballack at the helm, but in true Socceroos fashion, the Aussies can sneak up and shock you.
We could see a German squad looking ahead in this game, so look for a first half of a passionate Australian side playing all-out as a big underdog, similar to the South Africans in their World Cup opener. The Aussies will be playing risk for reward style early, in hopes of shocking the Germans.
With Germany not quite itself for the opener, I would disregard the cockiness and look for a win, but hardly the destruction that people might be predicting.
Prediction: Germany 2 – Australia 1