German press relieved at progress

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The Independent Football

Germany are already in the groove of knockout football ahead of Sunday's World Cup second-round clash with England after passing the "first test" against Ghana yesterday, according to the national media.

Joachim Low's side needed to beat Ghana last night to secure their passage to the last 16 and a stunning strike from Mesut Ozil on the hour mark was enough to take them through and set up this weekend's mouth-watering encounter in Bloemfontein.

But the relief at avoiding an early exit seemed to outweigh the anticipation of Sunday's "classic".

"Luck has one name - Mesut Ozil," titled the Suddeutsche Zeitung.

"Germany passes the first test," proclaimed the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Welt newspaper in unison.

"Our knockout phase started today," admitted the match-winner in the Welt.

But once the realisation of advancing had sunk in, the attention did indeed turn to the meeting with England.

"The duel with England is obviously a classic," said Germany captain Philipp Lahm in the Welt newspaper.

"The anticipation is huge. We are looking forward confidently, but we know that we have got to do certain things better."

Sport Bild magazine speculated over the fitness of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was substituted 10 minutes from time holding his hamstring.

"Big fear over midfield general Schweinsteiger," titled the weekly magazine.

"Should Schweinsteiger miss out, it would be particularly bitter because Joachim Low has hardly any alternatives in the defensive midfield position after the losses of Michael Ballack, Christian Trasch, Simon Rolfes and Heiko Westermann."

The sight of Ozil limping in the final minutes was also a concern, but he "only had a touch of cramp", according to Germany's assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick. "He won't need any treatment for that."