Former champs in tightspot

Germany's players prepare for a training session at the Velmore hotel in Pretoria June 19, 2010.  REUTERS/Joern Pollex/Pool (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Germany's players prepare for a training session at the Velmore hotel in Pretoria June 19, 2010. REUTERS/Joern Pollex/Pool (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

THREE-TIME World Cup winners Germany will be staring their first-ever group exit in the face when they take on Ghana tomorrow, but the players are shutting out any thoughts of a "disgrace", they said yesterday.

THREE-TIME World Cup winners Germany will be staring their first-ever group exit in the face when they take on Ghana tomorrow, but the players are shutting out any thoughts of a "disgrace", they said yesterday.

Germany, on three points, must win their final Group D match against the Africans, who top the group on four points, to guarantee they advance to the next round. A defeat or draw could see them eliminated at the group stage for the first time in the tournament's 80-year history.

"We know there is pressure here that a potential major flop, a disgrace, could be looming, that we could fly out in the first round," said central defender Arne Friedrich.

"But we just have to shut out those thoughts."

Apart from winning the trophy in 1954, 1974 and 1990, the Germans have played in four more finals in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002 and have finished in third place on three other occasions in 1934, 1970 and 2006.

It was 20 years between their first victory in 1954 to their second in 1974. Their third title came in 1990. - Reuters

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