Germany train to sound of vuvuzela blasts

PRETORIA - Three-times world champions Germany got their first taste of loud South African supporters when they held an open training session just hours after touching down on Monday.

Some 2,000 fans of all ages came out in full colours, hats and scarves and waved flags to welcome the team to Super Stadium in a black township in the west of Pretoria, not far from the team's base for the June 11-July 11 tournament.

Germany suffered a string of injuries before the tournament, but the fans watching them, many of them German expatriates or students at the local German school, were confident they had a good chance.

"They made it very far the last time around and their players are strong. I could see them taking the trophy this time," said 19-year-old Katarina Horst.

The players and coach Joachim Low arrived at the stadium clad in T-shirts painted with a South African flag and "Yebo" - "Yes" in Zulu - written on it.

"We are confident that this is going to be a fantastic feast, and that we can hopefully make our dream come true and become world champions again," team spokesman Harald Stenger told reporters.

The players did not seem perturbed by the sound of the blasting vuvuzelas, the plastic trumpets cherished by South African fans but condemned by others who fear it may be a health hazard or drown out emergency calls.

"I'll keep on blowing the vuvuzela at every game," said a 12-year-old fan, his face painted in German colours. "It pumps up the team and gives them energy."

Germany play Australia in their first Group D match on June 13 before facing Serbia and Ghana.

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