Head coach Silvia Neid said Tuesday Germany’s women can afford to take nothing for granted when they defend their World Cup title on home soil in 2011, despite being handed a relatively easy draw.
Germany will face France, Nigeria and Canada in Group A of the 2011 Women’s World Cup which starts at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday June 26 when the hosts face Canada.
“We are very pleased with the group,” Neid told German daily Bild after the draw in Frankfurt.
“But you certainly can not say that we are already in the quarter-finals.
“Under no circumstances will we take our opponents lightly.”
Having beaten Canada 5-0 in Dresden in September and Nigeria 8-0 in Leverkusen just last week, Germany captain Brigit Prinz said the goal is to defend the title they won four years ago in China at all costs.
“Both Canada and Nigeria can be difficult opponents and we can’t take anything for granted against them,” said the Frankfurt forward.
Having beaten Brazil 2-0 in the 2007 Women’s World Cup final, Germany’s main rivals from South America have been drawn in Group D against Australia, Norway and Equatorial Guinea.
The United States, who finished third in 2007 after beating Norway 4-1 in the play-off, are in Group C with North Korea, Columbia and Sweden.
England are in Group B with Japan, New Zealand and Mexico.
The final will be held in Frankfurt on Sunday July 17.
In football-mad Germany, the anticipation for the tournament is building and seven months before the tournament starts 370,000 of the 700,000 tickets have already been sold and organisers plan to sell-out every game.
“I’ve got goosebumps. As far as I am concerned, the World Cup can start tomorrow,” said national striker Inka Grings.
As European and world champions, Germany have considerable pressure on them, but Neid says her aim is to make sure her squad have fun as they look to win a third consecutive World Cup title.
“We must not let the expectations go crazy,” she said having coached her side to both the European crown in 2009 and the world title in 2007.
“We are working under enough pressure already.
“We have to have fun.”
The draw for the 2011 women’s World Cup to be held in Germany from June 26 to July 17:-