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Can England beat Germany?

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Phil McNulty | 17:26 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

If Franz Beckenbauer has being doing his best to light a fire under a World Cup meeting between England and Germany, David James was on hand with the bucket of cold water.

As "Der Kaiser" continued the campaign he started almost from the moment this South African showpiece started, namely to undermine England, James was keen to downplay - to put it mildly - the importance of Sunday's last-16 meeting in Bloemfontein.

Without a hint of his tongue forcing a hole in his cheek and with the straightest of faces, England goalkeeper James announced it was simply "a game against a decent outfit".

True enough, but any confrontation between England and Germany offers a little more than that - and James eventually accepted the historical significance of what will unfold.

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England, in case anyone had not noticed, have an array of old scores to settle against Joachim Loew's emerging young team, built from the framework of their lavishly-gifted under-21 squad.

From Mexico in 1970, through Italia 90 and on to Wembley at Euro 96, losing battles have been revisited constantly in the last 48 hours, although Fabio Capello's men will do well to remind themselves of the 5-1 victory in Munich in 2001 and Alan Shearer's winner at Euro 2000.

English obsession with penalty shoot-outs, especially the art of losing them, has been brutally exposed at the Rustenburg training headquarters ever since it was confirmed they would face Germany.

And it is an obsession that does not surprise Joerg Althoff, a reporter with German newspaper Bild, who told me: "No. No surprise. I can understand it because of the history. Germany is very, very firm at taking penalty kicks. The last time a German player missed a penalty in a shoot-out was Uli Stielike against France in Spain in 1982.

"Germany always prepares well. Jens Lehmann had a sheet of paper in his shin protectors ready for penalties against Argentina four years ago, and I know Manuel Neuer will be ready if this happens on Sunday.

"The record of the English sides is very poor - it is there for all to see - and if a shoot-out occurs again I'm very confident we will proceed."

So in what appears to be the highly unlikely event of this battle for a quarter-final place being settled by a football match, can England unseat Germany before the need for spot-kicks?

Let's start with the Beckenbauer factor. The German legend, a World Cup winner as player and manager, has made it his business to appoint himself as England's arch-critic.

He denounced them as a "kick and rush" team after their opening draw against the United States and followed up by claiming they were "burnt out", despite beating Slovenia.

Is this a sign of secret respect or even fear of England? One thing is certain, England's backroom staff will have no need to draw his criticism to the attention of the players in the crucial moments before kick-off. Capello will happily clutch at any extra incentive - and Beckenbauer has provided it.

Beckenbauer has subsequently apologised for the comments, intriguingly putting them down in part to being in "a bad mood" - but England are sure to use them as a motivational tool in the hope they will come back to haunt this iconic football figure.

England's players have grown visibly in confidence since the win against Slovenia ensured they would not go out at the group stage. A victory against a relatively lowly footballing nation is not a huge achievement, but the relief and elation was obvious even in coach Fabio Capello and provides momentum into the knockout phase.

There is a mood within England's camp that a stuttering World Cup campaign can now officially get under way. The pressure - and indeed fear - looks to have been lifted, although the only proof can come with another improvement on Sunday.

Further good news emerged from the England camp on Friday with the word that Wayne Rooney is "flying" in training, peppering James with an accuracy and power that has been absent so far. He will hope to repeat the feat against Germany.

England played with much greater tempo and passion against Slovenia. They were more of a threat. But Germany will present a different proposition and levels must rise again.

Rooney, in tandem with Jermain Defoe, will have noted the ponderous nature of Germany's defence. If England's rearguard has been accused, rightly, of a lack of pace, then it is a failing shared by their opponents, especially centre-half Per Mertesacker.

The mobility of Rooney and the speed of Defoe will give England major hopes of doing damage. Left-back Holger Badstuber's form has also been a cause for concern, so Glen Johnson and James Milner could profit in that area, although Hamburg's Marcell Jansen may be drafted in to bolster Germany's defence.

German coach Loew has a major concern over outstanding Bayern Munich midfield man Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has a thigh injury. His loss would be a major boost for England. Bayer Leverkusen's Toni Kroos is talented but he lacks experience and is no match for Schweinsteiger's influence.

England may target certain areas of the German team, but Capello will not underestimate the obvious talent of his opponents, who sparkled in the 4-0 defeat of Australia in their opening World Cup game.

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If some aspects of Germany's defence may come under scrutiny, in 26-year-old captain Philipp Lahm, "The Magic Dwarf", they have a world-class operator and a mature individual who is revelling in the responsibility after taking the captain's armband from the injured Michael Ballack.

A popular character and impressive player, Lahm increasingly symbolises the new era of German footballers, who retain great confidence in their ability and a determination to emulate the success of their predecessors.

And the great new star of German football, Mesut Ozil, is undoubtedly the biggest danger. The Werder Bremen player is creative, a goal threat and the heartbeat of Loew's side. He has the complete passing range and an ability to run almost Lionel Messi-style at defences, which will expose any England flaws.

As England's holding midfielder, Gareth Barry will be detailed to monitor Ozil - whether he succeeds or fails could shape the game.

And John Terry will need to keep an eye on the arch-poacher Miroslav Klose, who has shown signs of rediscovering lost instincts on this World Cup stage and will return following his suspension for a red card against Serbia.

Germany are a team lacking in experience at this rarefied level, but "Die Turniermannschaft", the tournament team, flourish almost without fail at the World Cup. They will expect their youngsters to rise rather than sink in the face of this special match.

England will need captain Steven Gerrard to maintain the form that has made him Capello's star man in South Africa, Frank Lampard will need to produce the form that makes him such a potent force for Chelsea, and, most of all, Rooney will need to rediscover the form that can terrorise the world's best defenders.

If all this comes together, then England can claw back some of the historical supremacy Germany have established over the years.

A game against a decent outfit, as James claims. Yes, but so much more than that.

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  • Comment number 1.

    I hope we do the nation a favour and put it to bed in the 90. That's all we can ask for really. Oh and Beckenbaur has apologised, not that anyone was listening to his tripe anyway.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great read again, totally agree.

  • Comment number 3.

    If England are to win this game then Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard and Ashley Cole will need to give 10 out of 10 performances! The support acts of Defoe, Joe Cole, Barry and Milner will have to put in a grand old shift as well!

    The defence is pretty solid in my opinion, we have finally sorted out who is our number 1 (it should have been James form day one) and John Terry is peaking at the right time...

    My prediction..2-0 England..all this talk of penalties will be blown away with goals from Lampard (pen..yes a pen) and Rooney.

    .......please let this prediction come true!

  • Comment number 4.

    There is no other side we could face that will fire up the team so much.
    Beckenbaur's comments help us even more.

    An England team, playing with that spirit, can beat Germany.

    So yes - we can. Now let's hope we do!

  • Comment number 5.

    you can't fault lampard, he's been played out of position all tournament, and apart from a few stray passes, he's been good.

    Also, whileI'm not sure Defoe is the right choice yet, he's sure going to give those big lumbering deutch centre backs the run around.

    come on england!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    England team will come into this game with all the hype from its media and fans claiming them to be the best ever; the so called golden generation which beggers belief since the last time England reached any sort of final was 1966!!!!! whereas the Germans have not only history on their side but the team work and ethic that has brought them success in the past, for a team that has reached 7 worldcup finals, thats some mean feat right there. I dont think England's midfield will be able to effectively handle the German midfield, I see this ending 2:0 in favourn of the Germans, but then again I have been wrong on other occasions in the past.

  • Comment number 7.

    For me, there are no old scores to settle. This will be a good match up between two of the better teams of the world cup. England should come out on top, because they have the better more experienced players, who if guided well tactically by their manager and play hard, very hard, will have too much for Germany, even if it is by the odd goal.

    Gerrard, Terry and Rooney will be bouncing the German players, and if the space can be denied by Lampard and Barry, their good players will have to work very hard and be very imaginative to beat England.

    England are good defensively, and look to have the set up now. Not to mention the obvious quality from Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard if they all play well.

  • Comment number 8.

    Please don't put Barry on Ozil! There definately is a threat there and we can't deal with it using someone who goes missing for parts of a game.
    I think this game will be hard fought, with England stepping up from their poor performances in the group stage. But Germany are capable of matching that intensity and it could come down to one mistake.

  • Comment number 9.

    cmon england , cmon rooney gerrard n co. great blog Phil . i hope the players change your words in reality and prove Der Kaiser and all the critics wrong .

  • Comment number 10.

    Good to hear that Beckenbauer has apologised. Not sure why he chose to seemingly pick on England.

    Love to hear all your views on the meeting of these two great footballing nations. Views from both sides as well. The game is a couple of days away, but let the debate start here.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think Capello should stick with Defoe and Rooney up front now, especailly against bigger, less mobile centre backs. I would keep the same team but as the game opens up in the second half, there might be a shout for Lennon to come on and have a go at Germany's left back (weakness whoever plays)

    Clearly winning the group would have created an "easier path" but hopefully the players will do better against stronger opposition. England to win 2-1 with Rooney getting both goals

    If it gets to penalties, I fancy David James to save a couple!

    Englands penalty takers (depends who is on the pitch)

    Ashley Cole

  • Comment number 12.

    your approach is direct, signifying that u are a fan of the 3 lions, but you fail to emphasise that the english has more flaws than the germans, while the germans were waiting for whom to play in the knockout stage, the lions were pondering on early exit, which was averted by a single goal. I think we all should know the germans are far ahead of the 3 lions in every department on the pitch except the media, capelo should be ready to subtitute rooney if nothing is going his way; its worth every risk: no more mistakes. Alas! Let the best team on the day win

  • Comment number 13.

    2-1 England, I'm predicting.

    Confidence seems to be where it should, and I just have a feeling that they will pull through for us.

    I hope that feeling turns into results!

  • Comment number 14.

    I think too much is being made of Germany's 4-0 win over the Aussies, Germany were good yes, but they were up against a very poor team on the night, they were given far too much space (especially Ozil) and the Aussie defence generally looked laboured, Germany appeared ruthlessly efficient, but I'd say it was far more down to the performance of the opposition than of the quality of the team, although I don't doubt that Germany have talent.

    Barry should be able to keep Ozil relatively quiet with his ability off the ball, if we press him then he wont be able to do what he's done so far.

    I think we should be confident though, watching the game between Germany and Ghana, Ghana got through a lot, and if they had the potent strike force that we have in Defoe and more importantly Rooney, then they would've come out on top quite easily in my eyes. Add to that the extra movement Rooney and Defoe would have created, and indeed the superior midfield to Ghana's that we possess, and a bit score line isn't off the cards.

    Klose will no doubt improve Germany's attacking game compared to the Ghana performance, but with Terry and whether it be Upson, King or the big scouse man, we have a couple of physical defenders to get on his back and stop him playing.

    Bring them on.

  • Comment number 15.

    I just can't understand all this fuss. Both teams will kick the ball for 90 minutes and the Germans will win. Simple. Easiest way - well Close down the middle and send England to Flanks which will make England commit Cole and Johnson, and they are the only two who have pace in that defense. Terry can't throw sand on Podolski back and Muller will score two. Goodbye England See you in Brazil 2014.

  • Comment number 16.

    I think its time to forget history - different players, different times,different venue, different ref, different ball, ad nauseum. Just another match which can go either way depending on what happens in the 90 minutes. Lets send the beach towels to the cleaners.

  • Comment number 17.

    think england will do another 5 goals against germany and it wont need a shootout to get them

  • Comment number 18.

    While it's good that Beckenbauer has apologized legends of football should be required to conduct themselves in a dignified and gentlemanly fashion. Beckenbauers comments sound increasingly hollow as England's campaign picks up momentum.

    Let them pick apart their own country's team by all means (so they can improve with reliable advice) but don't degrade other teams at the tournament because it's not their place.

    Remember Maradona had that recent spat when his managerial prowess was called into question? (I believe it's the players who make that particular team what it is) He got into a spat with Pele and conducted himself in an innapropriate manner.

    For the game I think while England's World Cup is gaining momentum Germanys 1-0 with Ghana isn't the opposite of 'Burnt out'

  • Comment number 19.

    England can easily beat Germany if Capallo has balls to drop couple of most over hyped and over rated players to bench you all know where I 'm coming from

  • Comment number 20.

    Also, even though he's been around for 20 years, how refreshing is David James.

    As footballers' go, he is a very interesting person.

  • Comment number 21.

    I suggest using wright-phillips and lennon on the outside with defoe and rooney up front. we are strong enough defensively with lampard, garrard, upson and terry in the middle. combined with ashley cole and glen johnson, think of the speed down the lines. i would be afraid of this team.

  • Comment number 22.

    England need to score twice if they are to beat Germany. With Rooney as he is at present there is no chance of a goal from him so one or more of the midfield needs to score. That is unless FC realises that he needs to play someone else up front and keep Rooney on the bench. I don't think that will happen though.

  • Comment number 23.

    When will the media, and the English in general, stop attaching a kind of historical weight to this fixture?

    Does anybody realise that the Germans don't really care at all about the fixture of "England vs Germany"? To them, it is just another match. And that's what it should be to us.

    Attributing a heavy stigma to the game makes us look quite foolish. Let history lie in the past and get on with it!

    I believe we can do this - COME ON ENGLAND.

  • Comment number 24.

    To Backhome...I think the only people who will approve of Wayne Rooney being on the bench will be the Germans. Just imagine the criticism that would hit Fabio Capello should he do that and England lost.

    Not a great idea.

  • Comment number 25.

    23, Spot on with your comments, England need to approach this match as they would any other and forget about any history that exists between the two football wise. England are a good enough team to beat Germany - end of.

  • Comment number 26.

    Germany haven't faced a good strike force yet, they have already tasted defeat,if Ghana had a strike force they would have been out Germany.Their defence are too slow to cope with England's attack,they also lack experience which is so needed in these next games.
    Germany's hope is to hit on the break, go for the draw and hope for penalty kicks.

  • Comment number 27.

    Good to hear that Beckenbauer has apologised. Not sure why he chose to seemingly pick on England.


    Now by all means correct me if I am wrong, but surely Beckenbauer was responding to being pestered by the English media about the chances of the English in this World Cup? You see it everywhere, everytime there is a footballing legend being interviewed, an English reporter always asks them what they think of England's chances.

    Usually they offer boring, neutral comments about how England are a good team and could do it this year but that Spain and Brazil are the favourites. The official line. Maybe Beckenbauer was just answering a question honestly (and I respect him for that) and it has been blown out of all proportions by the English media.

    Honestly, why do you care?

  • Comment number 28.

    Germany will approach the match like they always do - a game of football over 90 minutes that they badly want to win. If England do the same, it will be a tight contest and could go all the way to penalties.

    However, if England get themselves sucked into all the hype about WWII, 1990 and 1996, then they can forget it. Germany's players aren't any better, but usually their mentality is.

    I can't believe that stat about no Germany playing missing in a shoot-out since 1982. Hopefully for England their players don't know that one.

  • Comment number 29.

    27 - I would think that a reporter asking a respected figure about his native's chances in a major competition is a common theme throughout much of the world's media, not just that of England.

    I don't KNOW that it is, I'm just guessing it probably is, because after all the purpose of a journalist is to report back to his own countrymen, who want to know their team's chances.

    But in all honesty, I actually agree with you; why does anyone care what Beckenbauer has to say? If we believe what he says not to be true, it shouldn't affect us. On the contrary, if it fires the squad up, we should be grateful for his comments!

  • Comment number 30.

    pitroddieloon: No, can't blame the English media for this one, Beckenauer's comments were made variously in an SA newspaper and a German tabloid. Don't think many people care, just comes across a bit silly and adds more hype to the usual media-fest.

  • Comment number 31.

    Have to agree with 16 (and 23, though i do think the Germans will be worked up about it ).
    Each match is unique anyway,until the drama unfolds the curtain doesn't fall. The bookies would be out of business if the form favourite always came in. Enough platitudes. C'MON ENGLAND 2-0

  • Comment number 32.

    Phil, Rooney's been dreadful so far so no-one with half a footballing brain would blame Capello for not starting him. Reputation or no reputation, if a player is off the boil you drop them.

    I would personally play a 4-2-3-1 as follows:

    Hart (GK)

    A Cole (left back) Terry (centre back) Upson (centre back) Johnson (right back)

    Barry (holding mid) Carrick (holding mid)

    J Cole (left wing) Gerrard (attacking mid) Milner (right wing)

    Crouch (forward)

    Milner can then expose Friedrich at left-back for pace, and cross for Crouch to head one in. As big as Mertesacker is, Crouch is bigger. Note Lampard is not in the team as playing him puts him or Gerrard out of position. However, he would be available as a sub should Gerrard get injured or come off the boil.

    My main concern is being able to contain Klose, Podolski et al when they go forward - we are yet to face something so potent in this tournament. However, the 2-3 can drop back to become a 5 and flood the midfield when Germany come forward, with the idea being that they can't pass their way through the maze.

    As for prediction, I'll go for 2-1 to Germany, as going forward they are very dangerous and we will really struggle to contain them; at the back they aren't the quickest as Serbia have shown.

  • Comment number 33.

    England have nothing to fear from the game against Germany provided they play with the passion and vigour they displayed against Slovenia. If Capello can build on that game in a positive way and ensure that the team ignores the hype, things should click.

    In simple terms, Rooney is a better player than Ozil, Gerrard and Lampard are both better players than Schweinsteiger. Ashley Cole is as good as Lahm, if not better. The rest of the England players are at least on a par with the German players in terms of basic skill and provided they play as a team, England's greater experience will give them a win.

    Hopefully England will also start to get a little bit of luck to help them along the way. Instead of a goalkeeping howler or defensive mistake, perhaps we could have a deflected goal or moment of brilliance from Rooney. That will give the players a lift and get them playing like they do week in week out for their Clubs.

  • Comment number 34.

    I see two teams which looked shaky in qualifying. After starting brilliantly, Germany slipped up against Serbia and didn't look a lot better against Ghana. England started out shaky against the US, were abysmal against Algeria, and fairly good against Slovenia. England at least can claim to be improving.

    Germany have as dangerous a trio as just about anyone, but their defense looks shaky. England's finishing has been poor, but have defended well. On paper it's fairly even.

    Tactically, it might be a great time to sit back and try to hit Germany on the break, but I doubt they will.

    Given everything, both teams might think it's time to play very positively, which could well result in it being a great game.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think we need to stop thinking about the past (and the war).

    It is Germany Vs England in 2010.

    Some commentators are looking at the qualifying matches and drawing conclusions. I don't think we can draw conclusions from matches that do not have to be won.

    Both teams will be on absolute fire - we won't get a repeat of England Vs Algeria because this is a do and die knockout match. The side of England will see is the side that created so many chances against Slovenia, and past the ball around with confidence.

    I think England will be more hungry because this is the last chance for many of the players and they finally want to prove themselves on the international scene.

    If they had be against Brazil or Argentina, and would said Addios England, but in this match anything could happen against Germany.

    So the tournament starts here.

    I want England to win, I want England to put Germany of out of the World Cup. England can take Germany out of the World Cup. Lets do it.

  • Comment number 36.

    "There is a mood within England's camp that a stuttering World Cup campaign can now officially get under way. The pressure - and indeed fear - looks to have been lifted, although the only proof can come with another improvement on Saturday."


    Saturday? Says it all really.

  • Comment number 37.

    There's little chance of Gareth Barry holding down Ozil. He's simply too slow of foot and mind to have much of a chance. There are mismatches on the other side of the ball though, so England should get their share of chances. This is the one game where England could have really used Walcott's speed to good advantage. But England have Defoe, and Rooney can turn almost any defender. Hoping this is the game where Rooney comes alive and shows his quality.

  • Comment number 38.

    How refreshing it is to see the nation getting behind England after the deep criticism following the 0-0 Algeria game. The Slovenia win got us out of our slumber. Now we are raring to go. Rooney will come good and will score the only goal that advances England into the q-final against Argentina. Beckenbauer arrogance vs. Beckham professionalism-those attitudes will reflect on this historic match. COME ON ENGLAND. JUST DO IT.

  • Comment number 39.

    3 days ago this was the worst England team ever, and Capello a waste of money. One magnificent (1-0) victory over the mighty Slovenia, and suddenly England are the best team in the world!!!
    According to the English media and supporters, Germany easily beat a very weak Australia, were poor with 10 men against Serbia, then fortunate again to beat Ghana!
    I watched all of the above games. I thought they were excellent against Australia, extremely unlucky against a pretty solid Serbia (Klose should never have been sent off and Podolski should have equalised with the pen), then came out on top against a Ghana side capable of beating any team on their day.
    England, according to John Terry, have been improving as the tournament has progressed! Really? Poor against a very average USA. Worse against an indifferent Algeria, better against a team from a country with a population of 2million. World beaters that does not make!!!
    It may come as a surprise to England supporters, but the rest of the world isn't holding its breath to witness another sparkling performance of intricate passing and clever movement from the wingless wonders.
    Personally, I don't care who wins the WC. I just hope it's the team that plays the best football. And that, my friends, is not England!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    10. At 6:55pm on 25 Jun 2010, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Good to hear that Beckenbauer has apologised. Not sure why he chose to seemingly pick on England.

    Love to hear all your views on the meeting of these two great footballing nations. Views from both sides as well. The game is a couple of days away, but let the debate start here.
    Wish you would do a write up after reading these posts first?
    Sadly the World Cup Squads will never get to read these comments - but it does us all the world of good to have a moan now and again.

    England must play as a TEAM if the want success - Players playing out of position as reasons for not playing as a TEAM is just ridiculous - surely no matter where they play at this level they should be capable of kepping posession,looking up to find the player of their own side and not giving away the ball so easily - WE EXPECT 94 minutes of GRAFT and TEAMWORK - that's all

  • Comment number 41.

    If I were Capello, and maybe I am ;-), then I'd ask each of my players before the kick-off "Do you want to be hero?....Don' answer, show me!"

    England will win in ordinary time.

  • Comment number 42.

    #23 Jay - rubbish, I am watching German TV right now and they are replaying excerpts from the 1970 and 1990 World cup games and have been since Wednesday night. It's a big game for them as well, not "just another game"

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil's Comments...

    "Germany always prepares well. Jens Lehmann had a sheet of paper in his shin protectors ready for penalties against Argentina four years ago, and I know Manuel Neuer will be ready if this happens on Saturday."

    "There is a mood within England's camp that a stuttering World Cup campaign can now officially get under way. The pressure - and indeed fear - looks to have been lifted, although the only proof can come with another improvement on Saturday."

    PHIL... What's happening on Saturday? I thought the game was on Sunday!

  • Comment number 44.

    Well what can I say. This is impossible to predict. However let me call for England.

    Forget the "qualifiers". Its now a knockout of the best teams, and both teams will play at their best, without fear. We will see the spark that Germany had against Australia, and the creative play that gave England so many chances against Slovenia.

    For England, I say to players - it is time we showed the world England's quality at an international level. Its the last chance for many of you.

    If you play at max - you can win. And remember, what story do you want to live the rest of your lives with. You were part of the team that beat Germany in the World Cup, or you were part of another early exit for England.

    As Capello says, he has great players and 7 out of 10 of you have played in a Champions League final.

    The match is one and half hours, for the ecstasy of a lifetime.

    I want England to win against Germany, I want England to put Germany out of the World Cup, England beat Germany on Sunday. Lets do it.

  • Comment number 45.

    ENGLAND SQUAD need to reflect on their own performance firstly!

    Each player in the Squad - SUB or otherwise must think to themselves:-
    WHATEVER I DO NOW I'LL DO IT WELL - ENGLAND will progress to the next round.


  • Comment number 46.

    Mcnulty you scoundrel, if Rooney is playing badly then ofcourse we sub him. It will cost us in the end if we do not. I might add that, this tournament, as in 2006, he has been dreadful.

  • Comment number 47.

    Just to give a historical perspective on this, England face a huge task. In this match they have to beat a team who have won their group, having finished second in our own group. As far as I know we have only done this once before: beating Denmark in the second round in Japan 2002. In addition, England have only beaten another group winner on three other occasions in sixty years: Cameroon on Italia 90 and Portugal and West Germany in 1966. In the same period we have lost to another group winner ten times. Also, we also rarely beat another seeded team in the world cup. In addition to the above, we have only beaten the seeded France in 82 and a below-par Argentina in 2002.
    Therefore, to beat Germany, England have to achieve something they very rarely do. Can this team achieve what the teams of '82, '86 and 2006 failed to do?

  • Comment number 48.

    yes England can beat Germany but only if they block out Lahm on his overlapping runs and Ozil in the middle. Schweinsteiger is likely to miss out with a thigh strain. So the balance could be in England's favour.
    Also England have repeat HAVE to play with tempo and more tempo. they simply have to forget they are playing in England shirts and are back in their beloved PL and then CFC can win the game for England.
    However, England will then play Argentine and maybe Spain after that and finally Brazil so Germany is only one of range of mountainous hurdles and for that you can blame only one man and that is Robert Green. His mistake will cost England and he should hang his head in shame for he should be vilified for what he has done. He has committed the single worst goalkeeping error by an England keeper ever. I put his mistake higher than Bonetti and Robinson both of whom are far superior keepers and on form alone Robinson should have been taken to South Africa.
    had Green saved that backpass of a shot then England would have gone on to win that game maybe by 2 or 3 and finish top and have a more likely route to the final.
    I can only hope that Green realises this or maybe he does and does not really care.

  • Comment number 49.

    GhostoftheSun - Shocking analysis. To suggest that Rooney should be dropped is ridiculous. Our first two games, and Algeria in particular he was pretty awful, but against Slovenia he was fairly decent and hopefully he will continue to improve. He is our best player and is our player most likely to score or do something that leads to a goal so he has to play.

  • Comment number 50.

    the title of this blog is can england beat germany? i rate their chances of achieving this feat as slim to none but its really irrelevant as they (or indeed the germans) dont have a prayer of getting past the footballing machine that is maradona and argentina. who said that man cant manage? if argentina do go out it will not be to some also-rans like capello and his crew!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Can we stop this pathetic jingoism about Beckenbauer?

    He was correct about the long-ball humping we fell into after a bright start v USA. You might also have noticed we DID fade after about an hour or 65 mins v Slovenia-whether that was nerves or too many games, I don't know.

    But it did contrast badly with Germany finishing strongly against Ghana, who had them rattled for quite a while.

    None of which is to say we can't win. But let's just accept both sides need to go up a gear to ensure a win on Sunday, us a bit more so than Germany, but they can't afford to just think they can turn up & win.

  • Comment number 52.

    Ridiculous that they could only keep on asking David James about penalties, he seems to be relatively intelligent and articulate, and yet none of the journalists could ask a single interesting question....

  • Comment number 53.

    It seems the media swings one way to the next. Poor against usa, shocking against algeria, mediocre against slovenia. Media utterly slaughtered the team but because of that win you can now beat germany? managed to score only two goals against way poorer teams than germany, yet you are pretty confident of winning?

    Way i see it is that it would surprise me if any german player was set up to negate the presence of the likes of rooney, gerrard cause lets face it, they dont seem up to much. How will england cope with large periods of ball chasing?

  • Comment number 54.

    I will add however that in order to win, they have start finishing the chances they create, and if they go ahead - which they so often do, they have to keep the ball and slow the game down.

    You can't really relax until you are 4 ahead.

  • Comment number 55.

    Decent blog for a change phil, two thumbs up. would it be a failure if we went out to quite simply on there day a very talented side?? Agreed a very suspect defense but they have some prolific world cup performers and i for one am very worried if england dont start well.
    also Ozil has been fantastic to watch and i for one am very jealous of the germans for having such a talented footballer not just having potential but actually performing on the worlds top stage. Ahem...Mr Rooney take note!

  • Comment number 56.

    Rarely have England been so well placed to inflict damage on a team more ponderous in defence than ours and lacking in star quality. England will score three.

  • Comment number 57.

    A couple of things from reading the comments.

    Firstly, why do people fall down on extremes?

    England are either infallible or pathetic.
    A player is either brilliant or useless.

    Why do people seem to have an inherent and stubborn tendency to analyze England and other teams in an already established frame? I would like to think that I base my perceptions of England on how they've played in a particular game. Watch the game, then make a conclusion. Most people - not everyone - seem to go in to watching a game thinking "England are poor" or "England are great" and pick out the parts of the performance that support that. Take Lampard, for example. People have been quick to criticize him for missing a few passes, but neglect to mention that he also, in the group games, pulled off a few lovely passes that created good chances that were squandered by our frankly underperforming strike force.

    Also, why do people seem to base their assumptions that Slovenia are a poor team based on their population? There is absolutely no correlation. Slovenia's squad are the best eleven professional footballers the country has to offer; they could have been the most gifted players on the planet - the size of the country they come from makes no difference. Based on that logic, China should be far and away the best squad in the world. A frankly pathetic argument formed from faulty logic.

  • Comment number 58.

    also, to Tom H,

    rooney better than ozil? lampard and gerrard better than schweinsteiger? they play completely differently. and personally i though schweinsteiger was immense against ghana. Him and ozil would walk into that england team which is crying out for creativity.

  • Comment number 59.

    Oh and don't get sent off

  • Comment number 60.

    I am getting fed up of fans stating on 606 that England fans are being arrogant and that we think we will wipe the floor with teams etc. etc. The majority of England fans on 606 I think are pretty circumspect and only the very small majority come out with over confident tripe. If anything this world cup we aired on the side of caution and have been far from overconfident. I think the Germany game will be close and as it is cup football could ultimately go either way. It is definately time though for the big players to rise up and be counted. I think a couple of them (namely Rooney & Lampard) owe us a big performance. We will also need to be ruthless in front of goal as Germany won't give us as many chances as we had against Slovenia.

  • Comment number 61.

    Another german opinion: I am actually ashamed by the rudeness of Franz Beckenbauers comments. Trust me, he's getting on the nerves of many many (not only northern) Germans.

  • Comment number 62.

    There's no 'ifs' about it: When England have won ths game 3 - 1 in 90 minutes with a 2 nil lead (Defoe & Gerrard) at half-time & a 3rd goal from Rooney, his first of the tournament in the 89th as Germany press for an equaliser, then You will all know I'm right.

    That said, I think we'll lose in the Semi-Final to You know who!

  • Comment number 63.

    Just to put it in perspective..Beckenbauers comments weren't even mentioned in Germany. English media have totally overblown it.

  • Comment number 64.

    Ray Wilkins........ is Fat Frank not a central midfielder. We're told he can't play with Gerrard because he needs someone to hold so he can 'bomb on' so he got Barry for Algeria and Slovenia and still proceeded to miss two sitters. Don't pretend Lumps has been out of position or what not. Gerrard has been played far more out of position than Lampard. Take off your Chelsea blue glasses and smell the roses. The midfield is built around Lampard and we have tried pretty much everything for the last 5 or 6 years to get the best out of him and he has never produced with the three lions on his chest. Join the real world mate and learn something about football!

  • Comment number 65.

    @Nigeria for Arsenal

    You are mistaken if you think the germans were relaxed before their game v ghana. I was there before the match and am also bi-lingual (english/german), from reading the papers they were just as negative as ours: calling for the coach to resign etc.. saying that their world cup campaign was all over.

    I also advise you as a public dont buy this garb that it is only the english who are jingoistic and mention the war etc... in their tabloids I have read the english described as inbred island apes, and heard phrases like we will machine gun blast the tommys (the english) back to their little island.

    Having lived in germany for 16 yrs and also having some german family, I can safely say they are no better than the english when it comes to jingoism (thats the press and public both alike).

    As for Franz Beckenbauers comments, they are a prime example of the teutonic arrogance towards other nations that is still rife within germany. If a public figure of his ilk in england was to make similar unsporting comments he would be vilified by the broadsheets!!!!

    Lets hope we make Franz eat his words, and beat them playing our brand of football.

  • Comment number 66.

    Jay wrote,

    "Does anybody realise that the Germans don't really care at all about the fixture of "England vs Germany"? To them, it is just another match..."

    I'm writing this from Germany, where I am on holiday. I watched the England v Slovenia game at a public beer garden in Munich - of course we were surrounded by Germans. From where we are, the Germans seem really hyped up about the world cup, and they're delighted to be playing England next. Nobody mentioned the war ... but I think there's an undertone, because the city suffered terribly at the hands of the RAF & USAF. Also, they expect to win the game!

  • Comment number 67.

    When there are a number of people even talking about dropping Rooney surely that means he isn't that great after all. Could you imagine Argentina talking about dropping Messi????

  • Comment number 68.

    Blah blah.

    Bring em on!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Good to hear that Beckenbauer has apologised. Not sure why he chose to seemingly pick on England.
    Because the hacks asked about England's performances and he commented about their style of play and that they ought to have finished top of their group. I'm sure they asked him questions about Ghana, the Serbs and the Aussies and I'm sure the 'Redtop journalists' in those countries managed to pick faults in his responses and suggest that he had insulted their honour as footballers and as human beings. In England this invariably means a media re-run of WWII to liven things up. I'd normally say that you couldn't make it up, but then you can do that can't you Phil?

  • Comment number 70.

    @ Tom H,

    I don't think it is as simple as you make it out to be, really. What about the fact that Miroslav Klose has scored almost DOUBLE the amount of World Cup goals as the entire England squad?

  • Comment number 71.

    @ Tom H,

    I don't think it is as simple as you make it out to be, really. What about the fact that Miroslav Klose has scored almost DOUBLE the amount of World Cup goals as the entire England squad?

  • Comment number 72.

    Until today I wished England all the best, but after continually hearing Gary Lineker going on about the quarter final beteween England and Argentina I hope England get humped and Gary lineker retires embarrassed

  • Comment number 73.

    There's the potential of this being like the match against the Argies in '98, an earlier than expected rumble against a big team leading to an earlier than expected exit and soul searching about what we did wrong in the group stages.

    However I do not fear the Germans - we can win this one.

  • Comment number 74.

    Beckenbauer is magic. He tipped something off ... and the stupid English tabloids - errrmmm bbc, too - and their proll lemmings, fell into the trap:

    Foreseeable reaction:

    over-hype protest
    stating it would incite Three Lions' spirits
    and on and on an on ...

    till it reached our young talented boys. And they woke up: Hey, it's not only a game, we must win to proceed, but it seems to be a war, a war, a war ... oh my God ...
    ...then we have no choice.

    But win.

    Thanks, Franz.

  • Comment number 75.

    We have just of good a chance against the germans than anyone else!

    We are forgetting that England under Capello, are not just raw passion, we are a methodical team, practical, pragmitised, with no stone left unturned.

    With Capello having a win under his belt surely now he has the confidence, which reflects on the team, as his nerves did. We are in line for hitting the form of qualification now.

    Germans no problem, Argentines no problem, Brazilians ahh well....

  • Comment number 76.

    After all the talk this will probably be a dour 0-0 draw and go to penalties.......with the inevitable outcome!

  • Comment number 77.

    At the end of the day, there is 11 v 11 and anything can happen. There could be a moment of brilliance from anywhere on the pitch or a moment of madness. I hope England can rediscover there form and put this one to bed in the 90.

  • Comment number 78.

    germany by three...england have been rubbish couldnt beat a weak US team or an even weaker algeria and spearheaded by shreek the headless chicken england will be lucky to be able to find a striker near the box let alone score a goal, england have no chance....

  • Comment number 79.

    im obviously an english fan and i certainly do want them to win but c'mon u guys are so fickle one above average performance and u go to 7th heavens,

  • Comment number 80.

    Post 39 utdupnorth
    I have not seen a single post on here except yours that says anything about this England team being "the best in the world" so I would have to assume you just want to vent off so you make up your own facts - I would mistake you for a Rafa fan but for your name.
    Clearly this England team are far from the best in the world - just looking at the squad coming into this tournament compared to Spain, Netherlands, Argentina and Brazil that was very obvious. If we had won the group and had the easier side of the draw we had a decent chance of making the semi finals - which would have been an overachievement. The USA might just manage it though. But now with the tough side of the draw, a quarter final defeat by Argentina is the best we can expect.
    The subject of the blog is the Germany game and I think we have an even chance of winning. Neither team is outstanding and both have obvious weaknesses and it will be down to who turns up on the day and maybe who gets a slice of luck. Then on to the quarter finals and a glorious exit to Argentina - if we are there then the pace of that attack will tear us to shreds. We will see how much we miss Ferdinand and his reading of the game.

  • Comment number 81.

    der great Germans have reached 7 world cup finals...but they have lost more than they have won. Still a great record but they are certainly beatable. They wont win this world cup. They dont have the full package as in previous years. Argentina will snuff them out if they get that far and my beloved USA would have exacted revenge on them. They are going home and what better team to do that than England. So com on England..why go home on Sunday night..the tournament has just started for you. Rooney has being doing a german 3 card trick..prentending to be bad and all of a sudden he crushes the germans. England will win 3-1 in 90 minutes and David James will save a penalty

  • Comment number 82.

    To be fair even most Germans tire of Beckenbauer's frequent spouting. As a German-born Englishman I have huge affection for both, with my fundamental loyalty always being for England. But the English so often mis-read the Germans, and think they're arrogant or dismissive of others. Believe me, they're not - their esteem for English players (especially Rooney) is extraordinary. The Frankfurter Allgemein newspaper did an online survey of views of the match and from 8,000 so far over 3,000 think England will win, and another 2,000 only thinking Germany will win on penalties. There is no complacency, only huge respect - I wish our media (and I don't mean the intelligent element like Phil or the likes Telegraph/Guardian) were half as modest as the Germans.

    Anyone remember the Sun headline in December 2009 after the WC draw: EASY (England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks).

    And we think the Germans are arrogant?!

  • Comment number 83.

    All the hype over penalties, i say lets beat the Germans over 90 minutes of normal play. and i would like to think england will beat the germans, but i dont think they will. i hope i am wrong though.

  • Comment number 84.

    4-2-3-1 is right formation but players should be:-

    ---Johnson------Terry-----------Upson------------A. Cole---

    James is rock in goal, Johnson and A. Cole up the wings will be threat whilst Barry and Carrick over cover to Terry and the outstanding Upson.
    Gerrard and Lampard can play round Rooney in a triangle and get best out of him while J.Cole solves the ever present left sided question. 4 terrific attacking players whith two good holding players and great defence. Can't lose.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    On paper there isn't a reason England should win. But then they never live up to expectations. If you went by their three outings in this WC, they have come up with an unexpected result. So they'll win.

  • Comment number 87.

    Phil wrote: "Good to hear that Beckenbauer has apologised. Not sure why he chose to seemingly pick on England.". Phil, did you ever consider that he did not necessarily 'pick on England', but that he was actually right? Whatever the match with Slovenia, England is simply not good enough. They have no place in the top 8 and any other assessment simply comes down to misplaced patriotism. Germany-England will rightfully end in Germany's favour, most likely 2-1.

  • Comment number 88.

    People need to separate English football fans from the British Media Mob. It wasn't English fans who gave us the infamous EASY headline, it was the Media Mob. It wasn't English fans who poo pooed Beckham's "there are no easy games in the World Cup" statement, it was the Media Mob.

    The Media Mob are the arrogant ones here. English Football fans are no different from any other passionate sports fan. They support their team with passion and fervor, but English fans never underestimate the opposing team.

    Saying, "England will win" isn't a sign of arrogance, its a sign of support for the team. There's nothing wrong with believing your team has the ability to achieve great things. England fans know the Germans are tough. No one is taking anything for granted here. But don't confuse support for arrogance.

    COME ON ENGLAND!!! WE'RE ALL BEHIND YOU CAPELLO (except for the Media Mob)!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    I hope Ozil hears he is being likened to Messi... It's sure to have the debilitating effect that the media hype has had on England.

    As far as the result goes, I think DJ is right to say it's just another game. When we hear we are playing Germany we think of the emotionless, efficient machine which conquers all in its path. Those Germany teams were experienced and therefore extremely confident bordering on arrogant. If we get at this young team they will fall apart.

    This team aren't a traditional Germany team - they're too inexperienced

  • Comment number 90.

    England must do the extra running, don't mess with the ball at their own half and keep on feeding the ball to the penalty area. Wingers are important. Every 10 balls going in to penalties area will give a 2-3 shots at goal. Simple statistics.

  • Comment number 91.

    The collective optimism is wonderful and let's just hope that England can deliver and give us a qtr final game and hopefully beyond. But let's also be realistic. If we make the qtr finals we over-achieve. Sorry, but we do. We've all seen the likes of Ghana and Japan play at a pace and skill level that leaves the England team wanting. Arguably we may (or may not) have some outstanding individuals but as a team we are a shambles. Rooney has been an embarrassment both on and whilst leaving the field and the shadow of Terry's pre Wolrld Cup conduct still looms large and I'm am sure isn't easily dismissed by other players and those that were/are friends of Wayne Bridge. Capello's decision to play Heskey despite his performances and the reaction of the well informed England supporters still beggars belief.

    The first three games have failed to demonstrate that England has any commitment, desire or even an iota of passion in repect of the result. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the dinner later this month didn't result in a pragmantatious night on Sat.

    Love you loads,


  • Comment number 92.

    Yes, we can. Whether we do or not, despite all the number of Nostradamus', doommongers and worstwishers on these blogs, no-one knows. All I ask is we give our everything from the moment the ref blows for the start of the game until he blows for the end.

  • Comment number 93.

    It was doom and gloom couple of days back and now it is all roses. The truth/capability of the team is somewhere inbetween. I think a 1-0 win is the most that can be expected. The Germans, if they win, will win 2-0 or 3-1.

    I do not think it will go to the penalties.

  • Comment number 94.

    Some facts about penalty shootouts in world cups.

    Strikers have the best %
    Defenders come next
    Then midfielders.

    Left footed players have a much lower percentage scored.

    Players under 24 have the greastest success rate

    England ned to pick strikers and defenders to take thier penalties and give them to the youngest players in the squad. Also - no left footers.


  • Comment number 95.

    Coming 2nd in Group C has actually done Capello a huge favour.

    Each and every game we may play from here onwards is effectively a game we shouldn't win(Based on FIFA Ranking), so there is almost a sense of 'nothing to lose' now, just go out there and give it your best.

    Can we win? Of course we can, what ever anybody thinks there is always a chance for win, be it Germany or Brazil, there is always a chance.

    Try to remember, this is the sport where Exeter city took Manchester United to a replay only a few years ago!

  • Comment number 96.

    If England feel the need to be 'Fired up' by Beckenbauers comments, then they deserve to lose this game.

    My observation is, as soon as these two sets of players step over the white line, all the previous footballing history between the countries will go out the window. They will be two highly motivated teams, playing each other with a quarter final place being the prize.

    The biggest weakness for the Germans is not the defense, but the midfield where Khadera operates, he and Ozil tire so quickly I wonder if they are fully fit, then they begin to lose the ball putting pressure on Mertesacker and Friedrich making them look bad.

    If Klose, Podolski and Lahm operate anywhere near their best, then its..........GOODBYE England see you in 2014.......if you make it!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    And this is the chief football editor. God help us

  • Comment number 98.

    "The biggest weakness for the Germans is not the defense, but the midfield where Khadera operates, he and Ozil tire so quickly I wonder if they are fully fit, then they begin to lose the ball putting pressure on Mertesacker and Friedrich making them look bad".

    Khadera and Ozil must tire very quickly, I have watched all the German games and Mertesacker has looked poor from the very first minute! Mertesacker is slow, his anticipation is poor and he reads the game badly. He looks nervous which comes from him mentally knowing he is not good enough at this level.

    The recent footballing history does matter between these two sides and will always matter hence Beckenbauer jumping to criticise England at the earliest opportunity. Recent history (the last ten years) has England winning three out of five scoring 9 goals to Germany's five goals.

    I think if Mertesacker, Friedrich and Badstuber play as they did against Serbia and Ozil crumbles under the pressure it won't matter how Lahm, Klose and Podolski play. The outcome will be an England win.

  • Comment number 99.

    England fans have this bloated believe that they have the best team in the world, which is not true. Expectations sky rocket and so does the pressure on the team as a whole. The result being the extreme heart breaks like those after the Algeria game. I'm not from England but I like most of the English players but they could perform much better if left at peace to prepare for games. They need focus and concentration which cannot happen when they are too afraid of making mistakes and being booed when they do.

    I also think Gerrard is overrated. He had a woeful season and he certainly won't deliver at the world cup. Lampard should play a more attacking role and Carrick to support in midfield.

  • Comment number 100.

    Of course England can beat Germany.

    It's just that they won't if they do the footballing kind of going out on a date and then telling their woman for the night awful stories about how their last girlfriend was a complete weirdo, crankhead and man-hater.

    On the other hand, if they go out to enjoy it, hear 30,000+ fans roaring them on and just think about how great it would be to get to the quarter finals, then they're in with a great chance.

    Fatalist mothers and fathers in the Press: it's not your generation now, so do stop fretting, worrying and treating them like children about to be run down in the street.

    They're grown men, it's their life and we'll all still be here on Monday morning. And we'll be more likely to be in the quarter finals if you lot deal with your own hang-ups instead of projecting them, year after year, onto the national football team..........


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