JOHANNESBURG - A blur of pace, with young legs storming down the wings. Australia's chastened World Cup team is preparing to come up against more of the same on Saturday, but hope overconfidence will prove Ghana's undoing.
Australia's aging midfield and defence was destroyed by a youthful German team 4-0 in its opening match, and the nature of the defeat will be used as a blueprint by the African side in the crucial Group D match in Rustenburg.
Australia midfielder Vince Grella was ruled out of the match on Thursday after injuring his knee at training a day earlier.
With midfielder Tim Cahill also missing after being sent off against Germany and doubts over forward Harry Kewell's ability to play a major role as he recovers from injury, Grella's setback is a blow to a team needing to avoid defeat to stay alive in the competition.
Ghana midfielder Ibrahim Ayew said his team would expose the same flaws that were exploited by Germany.
"Australia must know we are going to attack and attack them," Ayew said. "We are going to go all out. We will dominate them. We know they have some weak sides, and we will take advantage. We are young and we are really going to use our pace."
Australia left back Scott Chipperfield, who endured a torrid night against Thomas Mueller in Durban, is expecting another big challenge.
"(Ghana is) a strong team, unpredictable and fast all over the park," Chipperfield said. "Of course, they're confident after their 1-0 win against Serbia. Maybe that can play into our hands."
Criticized for his selections against Germany, Australia coach Pim Verbeek responded by questioning his players' on-field organization. And Chipperfield acknowledged that the Socceroos were dragged out of shape by Germany's midfield brilliance.
"Maybe the defenders played too high a line, but the main problem was they had the time and space in midfield to play the ball in behind us," Chipperfield said. "Hopefully we control the ball better than we did against Germany — that's a factor we need to improve."
Several Australian players are set to quit international football after the tournament, and Chipperfield said the impending end would help to lift the team.
"It's not an easy game and it's tough when you have bad days, but how you bounce back determines how good you are. We're a good team," Chipperfield said.
One of the players who will quit is defender Craig Moore, who also struggled against Germany.
"We need to be better organized," Moore said. "That was something we prided ourselves on in qualifying. If we can get back to that we have players who can cause problems and score goals."
Kewell is ready to come back after only a few minutes of competitive football in 2010.
"I'm as fit as I can be," Kewell said, adding he could play 90 minutes, "if I have to."
"That's what I am here for," he added. "I have been training (with the World Cup squad) for four weeks now, and I feel good."