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Loew wary of Serbia

PORT ELIZABETH, June 18- Germany coach Joachim Loew has described Serbia, his young team's rivals here on Friday, as like a boxer who has taken a first punch and who is poised to fight back after their loss to Ghana.Loew’s side impressed in their 4-0 win over Australia and have, along with Argentina, won rave World Cup reviews as one of the teams of the tournament and will start hot favourites to swell their points account to a perfect six from six.

But Loew spelled out in detail why he believed the Serbs cannot be taken lightly.

"We have looked at Serbia in detail – despite losing to Ghana they are incredibly skilled technically, they have strong individual players," he said.

"And since they lost their first match they are even more dangerous in the second game.

"They are like a boxer who takes a first blow, they are poised to hit back.

"Their coach (Radomir Antic) has talked about honour, character, that tomorrow’s game is the match of the year.

"I know the Serbian culture, they are strong fighters and are perfectly able to deliver on their promises."

Loew, who was speaking at a press conference at the Nelson Mandela bay stadium, reported that Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who sat out training on Wednesday, was over his cold and was fit to play.

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Without going into specifics he hinted that he might tinker with his team who routed Australia in their first Group D tie.

Germany’s sparkling performance against Australia generated great excitement with talk even that they could go all the way and collect a fourth world title on July 11.

Lowe, when asked how his youngsters were coping with that added pressure, responded: "We know how to treat this situation. We’ve had a lot of applause for our performance, so we try to fend it off a bit, to keep a distance from our performance and the response.

"I’ve reminded the team of 2006, when Italy didn’t perform well in the group stage and lifted the trophy.

"Then there was Netherlands at Euro 2008, they played incredibly well in their group matches and everyone said they would be champions…

"We have to put things in perspective, we can’t take it for granted that such a young team like mine will perform at such a high level all the time.

"There’s no guarantee for success, we have to be very careful, we’ve only just started in this World Cup – what we do have though is great potential."

Friday’s kick-off is at the unusual time of 1130GMT (1330 local time), and Loew revealed he has tried to prepare his players for the early start.

"We’ve practised quite deliberately at 1330, and we’ve shifted meal times around to accommodate this rather special kick off time.

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"We’ll have to see tomorrow what is useful, there’s no magic solution – every player has to find out what is ideal for him to make sure his body can become accustomed to this new rhythm."



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