Philipp Lahm wary of Portugal
Germany captain Philipp Lahm has warned his teammates that they will be under pressure from the very first minute at the World Cup when they take on Portugal.
Die Nationalmannschaft have made it to the semifinal stage of the tournament at the last three attempts, while they have been in the last four six times in the previous eight competitions.
Germany kick off their 2014 World Cup campaign against Portugal on June 16, and the meeting between the second- and third-placed teams in FIFA's World Ranking will provide a stern test for Joachim Loew's men.
Speaking at a news conference at Germany's base in Santo Andre, Lahm -- who signed a new contract with Bayern Munich on Wednesday -- said the clash will be crucial to his side's hopes of lifting a first World Cup since 1990.
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"I believe that Portugal were already very, very strong two years ago. We had quite some luck beating them that day," Lahm said, referring to Germany's 1-0 win at Euro 2012.
"They are a strong team, also physically, and very dangerous. We will be stretched to our limits, and will have to play tactically well. If you don't win the first match, the pressure will mount already."
Cristiano Ronaldo played his first World Cup warmup game for Portugal on Tuesday, starting in the 5-1 defeat of Republic of Ireland.
The Real Madrid player had been sidelined since the Champions League final, and has been struggling with a knee injury since late March.
However, Lahm believes that the 2013 Ballon d'Or winner will be fit enough to start in the match against Germany.
"He is an outstanding player. And we'll definitely prepare to meet a Portugal side with Ronaldo. It's always something special for him to meet Germany. He finally wants to beat us," Lahm said.
Ronaldo has played three games against Die Nationalmannschaft so far and has lost all three of them.
Germany will also meet Ghana and United States in Group G at the World Cup.