Defeat fails to rock solid German World Cup morale

By Agnieszka Flak

PORT ELIZABETH (Reuters) - Aside from a few grumbles about some questionable refereeing, Germany are taking their surprise World Cup defeat by Serbia in their stride.

With trademark German efficiency, the players immediately shrugged off their 1-0 defeat by the indomitable Serbs on Friday and were confident the setback will not take the sting out of their tails.

The three-times World Cup winners still lead Group D on three points and will miss striker Mirsolav Klose for their last game against Ghana on Wednesday following his dismissal for a second bookable offence.

But like their jovial fans who partied late into the night in the beachside bars of Port Elizabeth, Germany's players seems to have already shrugged off the defeat.

"The team is very well prepared for this and also to handle these kind of setbacks," said defender Philipp Lahm.


"Even after the red card the team played very good football. I'm confident about the last game. We were strong in the Serbia game, we could always have scored, that all gives me confidence."

In a lopsided match, Germany were always threatening, commanding the flanks with darting runs and neat passes and bombarding the Serbian goal with dangerous crosses and potent long-range shots.

Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski were impressive throughout.

Klose was the top scorer of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Defender Arne Friedrich added: "We have a strong team ... even with only 10 men we can dictate the game."

Podolski could have earned a point for Germany in the 61st minute but his feeble penalty was saved by Vladimir Stojkovic.

"I'm usually a secure penalty taker. One moment, you're the hero, the next, you are the idiot," Podolski said with a smile.

"For now we are disappointed, but tomorrow we start preparing for Ghana."

(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Jon Bramley)