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Friday, June 18, 2010 (All times Eastern)

Germany (1-0-0) vs. Serbia (0-1-0), 7:30 a.m.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa (Sports Network) - Serbia's Zdravko Kuzmanovic apologized to his teammates after his handball in the country's FIFA World Cup debut Sunday gave Ghana a late penalty kick and a 1-0 victory.

Kuzmanovic's mistake spoiled a strong showing for Serbia, which is playing in the World Cup for the first time as an independent nation.

Now, Serbia must rebound in its second match in Group D play against Germany - easily the most impressive team in the opening round of group matches. Germany crushed Australia 4-0 as it opened pursuit of its fourth title.

Kuzmanovic knows Serbia needs at least a draw against the Germans on Friday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, or its World Cup is likely over after two matches.

"It was a foolish mistake to make," Kuzmanovic said. "I tried to head the ball and when I realized that I was going to miss it, my arm went out - it was a reflex action.

"Now the next match with Germany is key if we want to progress to the Round of 16."

Despite being in its inaugural World Cup, Serbia has an established history as the former Yugoslavia and then Serbia and Montenegro.

Serbia has a few players from the Serbia and Montenegro side that qualified in 2006, including captain Dejan Stankovic, and remains a dark horse in the event if it can survive its horrific start.

Germany cruised in its opener, as Lukas Podolski scored in the eighth minute and Miroslav Klose added his 11th career World Cup goal midway into the first half. Thomas Muller and Cacau scored in the second half.

"The win is good for the confidence," German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said. "We played some good football so let's hope it continues.

"There's only one target for us now and that's reaching the Round of 16 as quickly as possible."

Germany would secure a berth in the knockout round for the 15th straight event with a win over Serbia, and either a tie or draw for Ghana against Australia.

"The win was important for us as it will give us confidence. We now have the opportunity to reach the Round of 16 early if we win our second match," German coach Joachim Loew said.

"That's what we're aiming for."

06/17 13:35:55 ET


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