SEOGWIPO, South Korea, AP
German coach Rudi Voeller said Monday the United States was not in the World Cup quarterfinals by accident and that it will be a tough opponent for the three-time champion.
“We all saw the game against Mexico this afternoon. Mexico dictated the pace but the Americans took the lead and it was difficult for the Mexicans after that because they had to worry about falling victim to the counterattacks,” Voeller said after Germany’s practice.
The Germans practiced after watching the U.S. team beat Mexico 2-0 and gain a quarterfinal berth against Germany. The match will be played Friday in Ulsan, South Korea.
The Germans played the United States in a warmup match in March and won 4-2 in Rostock.
“We had great problems in the first half,” Voeller said. “They were very good in their forward motion but that was a friendly.
“The Americans have shown great morale here, no one believed that they would make the quarters. But we want to go into the semifinal, no matter who the rival is.
“There will be pressure on us because we’ll be considered the favorites.
Germany beat Paraguay 1-0 on a goal by Oliver Neuville in the 88th minute.
“We have to take them very seriously,” said Miroslav Klose, the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals.
“They are very good in defense,” said reserve striker Oliver Bierhoff. “We are used to being in the role of a favorite, our clubs are usually the favorites when they play in European competitions. We have experienced players who are used to big games.”
Goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn said the 4-2 victory in Rostock was not a measuring standard.
“I don’t attach great importance to that match, it was a friendly. The World Cup is something different,” said Kahn, who has allowed one goal in four games.
“They are a very robust team and they have strong and tall players,” he said.
“Once we got into the quarterfinals, we gained a lot of confidence. But we must not make the same mistake we did in 1994 and 1998, when we played Bulgaria and Croatia and everyone thought the semifinals were within reach. Then we lost both games.
“We must make sure we don’t get knocked out by an another unpleasant opponent,” Kahn said.
The Germans will remain at their Jeju Island base until Thursday, when they travel to Ulsan.