Factbox on Germany
Colours: White shirts, black shorts and white socks.
Previous World Cup appearances: 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Best World Cup performance: Winners - 1954, 1974, 1990
Losing finalists - 1966, 1982, 1986, 2002
Coach: Joachim Loew
Most capped player: Lothar Matthaeus 150
Top goalscorer: Gerd Mueller 68
The late loss of captain and experienced midfielder Michael Ballack with an ankle injury was a blow to Germany.
Coach Joachim Loew's first World Cup in charge could also be his last, after contract extension talks collapsed earlier this year and were postponed until after the tournament.
Having taken over from Juergen Klinsmann after the 2008 World Cup in Germany, Loew has run the team with a steady hand, steering them to the Euro 2008 final. But he has failed to establish Germany as one of the favourites for the World Cup.
The 50-year-old has not relaxed his ban on striker Kevin Kuranyi and also opted to drop veteran midfielder Torsten Frings in favour of a younger and more agile midfield.
Player to watch:
Striker Lukas Podolski could prove to be a match-winner. With a stunning scoring record for the national team, and after a subdued season at Cologne when he scored just two goals, Podolski is desperate to reveal his best form on the big stage. (Compiled by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Robert Woodward To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)
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