Ballack says Germany must improve to seal World Cup spot
AFP · 31 Aug 2009, 17:23
Published: 31 Aug 2009 17:23 GMT+02:00
Ballack's call to arms on Monday comes just over five weeks before the Euro 2008 finalists face Russia in a pivotal Group 4 qualifier in Moscow. Germany go into that October 10 clash leading Guus Hiddink's Russians, who have a game in hand, by four points.
"We have to singularly improve our level of play if we want to be a candidate at the World Cup," the Chelsea midfielder told German news agency SID. "First of all we have to qualify, but if we make it through Germany will be one of the favourites based on our commitment and our good organisation which compensate for certain weak spots - that's how we reached the final at Euro 2008."
But looking ahead to the Russia game Ballack said Germany was far away from it previous form.
Before Russia Germany face Azerbaijan in their next qualifier on September 9 with a friendly against 2010 hosts South Africa on Saturday.
"We have to play two good games to show that our top spot ahead of Russia is justified," added the Germany captain who went on to regret that none of his teammates played for other major European sides.
"It would be good if other Germany players could find their way to playing for big European sides. Germany didn't become world champions in 1990 by chance, seven of that side were playing in Italy," he said.