FOR Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Australia's first game against Germany in Durban on June 13 will be extra special.
Schwarzer is of German origin and played some of his early career in Dresden and Kaisterslauten.
"I'm excited about playing against Germany, it will be very special for me,'' the Fulham custodian said, noting that he had been in touch with German friends and family just minutes after the draw.
"The banter has started already,'' he said.
"They've got a fantastic side and they always do well at World Cups and to get them first up is fantastic.''
He said he was not overawed at facing German super-striker Miroslav Klose, who has scored 10 World Cup goals in two tournaments.
"Every team has got three or four players who have got international world-class qualities,'' he said.
He said he was looking forward to locking horns with Fulham teammate John Paintsil in South Aftrica, while he described Serbia as "a bit of an unknown quantity''.
Schwarzer agreed that Australia had been handed one of the toughest qualifying groups, but he was not overawed by our opposition.
"It's definitely not the easiest group but it could have been a lot worse,'' he said.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek said he was content with his side's draw.
"Could have been better, could have been worse,'' he told SBS television.
"Germany's one of the best teams in the world - it's a great opponent for the first game, Ghana is very strong and Serbia beat France.
"Every game is full of challenges.
"We have a good record against Ghana, we've never lost against them.''
The Socceroos last played Germany at the 2005 Confederations Cup, matching the host nation for much of the game but eventually falling to a thrilling 4-3 defeat in Frankfurt.
Australia last played Ghana in a friendly in May last year, winning 1-0 with a Mile Sterjovski goal.
But Ghana were missing their stars Essien and Muntari, though the Socceroos were also understrength.
Schwarzer said most of the reaction to the draw in England had centred on their "easy'' path to the second round. England has drawn with the USA, Algeria and Slovenia.
He said England fans watching the draw in pubs were celebrating already.
"I hope it doesn't come back and bite them on the backside,'' he said.
And he added that the prospect of a second round clash with England which will happen if England top Group C and Australia are second in Group D was mouth-watering.
"You don't want to get ahead of yourself and look beyond the first stage but if you needed extra incentive there it is,'' Schwarzer said.
Before the draw, Socceroos defender Craig Moore was hoping for an opportunity at some stage in the tournament to get revenge against reigning champion Italy, who controversially bundled them out of the 2006 World Cup.
"It would be nice to come up against them and hopefully reverse that result," the Brisbane Roar captain said of Australia's heartbreaking round-of-16 loss in 2006.
"They went ahead in strength and confidence after the game against us," Moore said.
"They definitely didn't outplay us at any stage, and they were the world champions.
"There's teams you'd like to avoid but you're not going to go into the tournament worried too much about any team that you come up against.