On Michael Essien’s withdrawal from the Ghana squad:
He is a big player, there’s no doubt. I’ve played against him a number of times and have a lot of respect for him. He plays at the very highest level for both Chelsea and Ghana and Ghana will definitely miss him, but they have a good team and a number of good individuals who can fill in for him. They have quick, strong players and the game on Sunday is not going to be easy. The first game is so important for confidence, and we feel that we have enough quality to deal with Ghana.
On people thinking Germany are favorites to win the group:
Germany always do well in these tournaments, we are very aware of that. Their ability to always perform well on the biggest stage cannot be underestimated. People say they are the favorites to win the group, but I know we have quality as well, we believe in ourselves and we are not afraid of them.
On potentially facing England:
England are one of the four teams that could win the World Cup. They’re a great side, and I know many of the players from playing in England. I know Wayne very well of course, and he knows me, so it will be an interesting battle if I face him, but I don’t want to think too much about that yet, we need to focus on the group, and take each game at a time.
I think Wayne is one of the best three players in the world, he is magnificent, he scores so many important goals, and has increased the level of his performances, his overall game and his impact on the pitch.
On playing Australia:
We should prepare for every game like it’s a final, this is the way we should prepare whichever opponent we face. In one game can anything can happen. Australia aren’t a bad side, they are physically very strong and so we cannot underestimate them.