Germany VS Ghana: Ghana boss backs Boateng to handle pressure

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Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by PA

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has backed Kevin-Prince Boateng to be strong enough to cope with what could be an emotionally-charged World Cup clash with Germany.

The Portsmouth midfielder became public enemy number one in Germany, the country of his birth, last month after his tackle on Germany captain Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final ruled the Chelsea man out of the World Cup.

The Group D match at Soccer City also throws up the possibility of Boateng coming up against his half-brother Jerome, a Germany international who has reportedly broken off contact with Kevin-Prince over the Ballack incident.

However, Black Stars boss Rajevac believes his player has the fortitude to come through what could be a trying evening, with a place in the last 16 at stake for both sides.

The Serbian said: "We have talked about this, the media created this problem. Even if there had been a problem it lies behind us. Kevin-Prince Boateng will do his best, he will focus, he will not be provoked, he is a professional. They may be brothers off the pitch but on the pitch they are not brothers.

"He will do his best and play without any pressure and play his normal game in order to reach a good result."

Germany coach Joachim Low is confident nerves will not be an issue for his young side as they look to keep alive their World cup dream.

Germany, with youngsters such Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Holger Badstuber given key roles, could hardly have had a better start to the competition as they thumped Australia 4-0 in their opening match.

That was probably the best performance from any side in the first round of fixtures in South Africa, but the European superpowers were brought crashing back to earth in their next match as they lost 1-0 to Serbia in a clash which saw Miroslav Klose sent off and Lukas Podolski miss a penalty for Low's team.

The defeat left Germany level on three points with the Serbians and one point adrift of Group D leaders Ghana, and means Die Nationalmannschaft could be a shock early casualty of the World Cup unless they can beat the African outfit at Soccer City.

The pressure is on, but Low is getting a good vibe from his players, many of whom are playing in their first World Cup.

"When I talk to the players I do not get the impression they are nervous or worried after the defeat against Serbia. Although it is very young, the team has this confidence and inner conviction that it can beat Ghana," he said.

"I think we've digested and worked on the defeat to Serbia in the last two or three days, we're focused, we've prepared for the game against Ghana, a match which will not be easy.

"Ghana are a good team who have played well but we are convinced we can win this game and can get into the next round."

He added: "I believe the pressure is always there in any game. Lots of teams are in a similar situation and need to win their third game, England, France, Italy...they all have a lot of pressure and have to win their third game.

"Our players can deal with the situation, as far as I can see. I don't see a lot of nervousness, I feel concentration and conviction.

"Players like Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arne Friedrich all give me the impression they can lead the team. We know we have the potential, the quality and the ability to beat Ghana."



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