Two wins, or it’s all over. Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek admits the embarrassing 4-0 loss to a superb Germany in their World Cup Group D opening match in Durban has left his side in damage control to salvage their tournament.

With a horror goal difference, Australia must now win their remaining two matches against Ghana in Rustenburg on June 19 and Serbia in Nelspruit on June 23 to match their round of 16 finish at the last World Cup.

But it would be a brave soul to tip Australia for more of their 2006 heroics on their worst ever result at the tournament, as well as losing star man Tim Cahill for the Ghana match after he was harshly sent off for a second half challenge on German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.

It will be scant consolation that for the second successive World Cup, Australia may have lost to the eventual tournament winners.

Australia were mercilessly carved up by the Germans, whose young midfield playmaker Mesut Ozil put on a masterclass as his side produced the best football of the tournament so far.

The Germans had the match parcelled up by halftime with goals to Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose.

Then any slim hopes of an Australian revival disappeared in the 57th minute when Cahill was marched.

Australian team officials said they would investigate appealing Cahill’s automatic one-match ban, though it could prove difficult to warrant overturning the suspension.

Verbeek accepted responsibility for the defeat, which came after he sprung two massive selection shocks in his starting 11 – Hull City attacker Richard Garcia in an unfamiliar striker’s role and Carl Valeri in midfield ahead of Mark Bresciano.

It also meant Jason Culina was moved to an unfamiliar left-sided midfield role – and Ozil and winger Thomas Muller exploited the flank and Australia’s ageing defence ruthlessly.

“As coach, you’re always responsible. I never blame any of my players. I have no problems saying it’s my responsibility,” Verbeek said.

“The reality is the next two games we have to win. A draw is not enough.

“Our next game is a final. We have to learn from this game. We have six days to recover physically and mentally.”

Germany now sit top of Group D, with Ghana – who beat Serbia 1-0 in Pretoria earlier on Sunday – also on three points.

Australia is bottom of the table on goal difference.

Ozil and Muller set up Podolski for the opening goal on eight minutes – Ozil finding Muller with a pinpoint through ball, before the winger pulled the ball back for Podolski to smash into the top of the net.

From there it was all Germany, and Muller created the second after 26 minutes for Klose.

His perfect cross found Klose steaming in ahead of Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to head home for the German’s 11th goal in World Cup finals.

Then after Cahill was red-carded by Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez to leave them with 10 men, an inevitable third came as more sparkling German movement led to Muller slotting home in the 68th minute.

Substitute Cacau added a fourth two minutes later set up by Ozil, who was mercifully substituted with 15 minutes remaining to give Australia’s defence some respite.

Germany’s coach Joachim Low said he was pleased with his side’s clinical performance, though he felt there was still room for improvement.

© AAP 2018
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