Lahm backs German young guns
Germany captain Philipp Lahm believes his team are better than the side that competed in the 2006 World Cup.
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 12/06/10 4:15pm
Germany captain Philipp Lahm believes his team are better than the side that competed in the 2006 World Cup finals.
Lahm leads his team into their Group D opener against Australia on Sunday in Durban and he is confident Joachim Low's charges possess more threat than the team that reached the semi-final stage four years ago.
Germany were beaten by eventual winners Italy but finished third after defeating Portugal in the play-off, however Lahm reckons the more positive outlook of the current squad puts them in good stead to go further in South Africa.
Lahm's side also finished runners-up in Euro 2008 and he believes the exciting crop of stars are capable of making inroads in the tournament.
The 26-year-old said: "We really want to start with a win. It will give the young team even more security.
"There is even more confidence in the team because we did so well in the warm-up games which was not the case back in 2006.
"I think this is the best German team in which I have played. Everyone is excited and ready to play.
"Today we have more players who will go on the attack during a 1-1 draw. We have more hands-on types, not so typically German."
Germany's preparations have been aided by some convincing victories in pre-tournament matches, with Malta and Hungary beaten 3-0 and Bosnia-Herzegovina dispatched in Frankfurt by a 3-1 scoreline.
The absence of first-choice skipper Michael Ballack through injury provided a setback but Lahm reckons his youthful team can handle the pressure of the competition.
Lahm is still a relatively experienced campaigner in international football terms with 65 caps to his name and he is excited to be leading such a talented outfit into the showpiece.
Set the world alight
And the defender firmly believes victory over the Socceroos on Sunday will light the touch paper and provide the foundations for their first World Cup triumph in 20 years.
He added: "We are a young and hungry team. It's noticeable at every training session the team trains with great enthusiasm and tempo.
"I have no fear at this World Cup. As a captain I have to be courageous but I also want to be nice off the pitch.
"We can set the world alight but winning the first game is absolutely imperative. Being part of a World Cup is a key event in anyone's life and we want to hit the ground running.
"I want every player to bring their best performance to every game and I want every player to enter this tournament with the best possible feeling."