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Dec 4, 2009

Pressure on Germany not us: Schwarzer

Three-time champions Germany will be under enormous pressure to win their opening game against Australia at next year's World Cup - and that suits the Socceroos, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said on Saturday.

Australians awoke to the news of the World Cup draw, which pits 21st-ranked Australia against Germany, Ghana and Serbia in South Africa 2010.

Only African powerhouses Ghana are ranked below Australia on the FIFA world rankings at 37 and most Australian football fans believe it is one of the hardest groups in the tournament.

But Schwarzer, whose parents are German and played his early European football with Dynamo Dresden and Kaiserslautern, is relishing the challenge against Germany in Durban on June 13.

"Obviously, it's a massive game first up and the great thing for us is that Germany will be under all the pressure," Schwarzer told Australian television from London.

"Everyone will expect Germany to win, they will be under enormous pressure back home to win the game and the footballing world will be thinking the same thing.

"So from our point of view we will go into the game and hopefully we'll perform at our best and if we do I think there is every possibility that something might happen."

Schwarzer, who plays for Fulham in the English Premier League and was the standout player in Australia's successful qualifying campaign, said it will suit Australia's chances to be considered as an underdog.

"I'm happy that people might possibly underestimate us and that's where we thrive at as well. That will change pretty dramatically if we do beat Germany," he said.

Coach Pim Verbeek, who was in Cape Town for Friday's draw, said Group D represented a major challenge for his Socceroos.

"We know how good we can be, it's a tough group, but the more difficult it is for the players the bigger the challenge," he said in a statement.

"We have a good record against Ghana, we've won four times against them.

"(But) Germany is one of the best teams in the world, while Serbia beat France (in qualifying), so every game is full of challenges."

Former Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich said a result will be important for Australia in their opener against the Germans.

"If we do happen to get a good result that can set you up for a great World Cup. If you get a bad result confidence can be low," said Bosnich.

"But teams will beat other teams in this group, that will take points off each other. This is one of the hardest groups and that could be a good thing as well."

Local bookmakers have installed Australia at 100-1 to win the World Cup.

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