Germany v England preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:53

Germany v England preview

Expect fireworks in Bloemfontein on Sunday when England rekindle their long-standing rivalry with Germany in the World Cup second round.
There is no love lost between these two old adversaries and you can guarantee that no quarter will be asked or given when they lock horns in another all-or-nothing encounter.
This will be the third time in the space of 20 years that England and Germany have met in the knockout stages of a major tournament, with the Three Lions’ record making for uneasy reading.
At both Italia 90 and Euro 96 England suffered penalty shoot-out heartache, falling at the semi-final stage on each occasion.
There is every chance Sunday’s encounter could go all the way once again, but you can rest assured that Fabio Capello and Joachim Low will have everything crossed that things do not go that far.
It is, however, difficult to separate the two sides heading into the game, with both rather stuttering through the group stages.
Germany burst out of the traps with a 4-0 mauling of Australia, earning them widespread acclaim, but they then lost 1-0 to Serbia and were far from convincing as they wrapped up top spot in Group D with a 1-0 win over Ghana.
They were, however, able to breathe a little easier than England, who made a meal of forcing their way out of Group C.
The weight of expectation proved too much for Capello’s men at times, as they opened with a disappointing 1-1 draw with the United States and followed that up with a lacklustre goalless stalemate with Algeria.
That left England needing to beat Slovenia in their final group game to progress, which they duly did as a solitary effort from Jermain Defoe ensured they would not be heading on the first plane home.
Both sides will need to raise their game if they are to mount a serious challenge, though, and they will be hoping that this weekend’s contest proves to be a catalyst for a prolonged assault on the World Cup crown.
Having fared infinitely better against Slovenia than they did in their opening two games, Capello must decide whether to stick with those who got England into the last 16 or shuffle his pack again.
Jamie Carragher will be back from suspension, while Ledley King could come back into contention following a groin problem, and they will be looking to oust Matthew Upson from a starting role at the heart of the back four.
James Milner fared admirably on the right wing last time out and is likely to continue, while Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry are virtually untouchable.
Defoe will be hoping that his goal against the Slovenians will earn him an extended run in the side, but Emile Heskey will be waiting in the wings and Joe Cole could be drafted in should Capello choose to ditch his favoured 4-4-2 formation.
Wayne Rooney, despite failing to hit the heights so far, will lead the line, with the Manchester United man showing no ill-effects after suffering an ankle knock on Wednesday.
Germany’s preparations have been hampered by untimely injuries to key men, which could force Low to tinker with his starting XI.
Bastian Schweinsteiger picked up a thigh strain against Ghana and he now faces a race against time to prove his fitness.
Jerome Boateng is also a major doubt, after he sustained a calf injury in Germany’s final group game.
On a more positive note, playmaker-in-chief Mesut Ozil is expected to shake off a twisted ankle in time to make the crunch clash.
Goal-poacher extraordinaire Miroslav Klose will also be available to Low again after serving a one-match ban and he can expect to be thrown straight back into the fold.

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