World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, June 27, 2010
(All times Eastern)
Germany (2-1-0) vs. England (1-0-2), 10 a.m.
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Sports Network) - England and Germany have played
just four games in the FIFA World Cup, but three of those - including the 1966
final - were not decided until extra time or penalty kicks.
So, when England and Germany meet in the round of 16 on Sunday in Bloemfontein
at Free State Stadium, the European powers should produce another classic.
"Any meeting with England is huge, and we're really looking forward to it,"
Germany captain Philipp Lahm said.
Germany defeated Ghana in its final match in Group D to advance as the winner,
while England set up the showdown by finishing second in Group C to the United
States on goal differential.
Since the countries first met in the World Cup 44 years ago, when England used
two extra-time goals for a 4-2 win in the final, they've also battled in 1970,
1982 and 1990.
Germany beat England 3-2 in extra time in the 1970 quarterfinals, as it
overcame a two-goal deficit. After a 0-0 tie in the second group stage in
1982, Germany got the best of England again in the 1990 semifinals on penalty
The Germans went on to claim the title in 1990, the most recent of their three
crowns. England hasn't won since 1966. Now, one of the two faces an early exit
in South Africa.
"We're not bothered about who we face next. We're not afraid of anyone," said
German midfielder Mesut Ozil, who scored against Ghana, "because we know what
we're capable of.
"We have to win every game from now on, and I'm convinced we can."
Germany may be very confident ahead of the anticipated round of 16 match, but
so is England.
"This was the team that I know," Capello said after England beat Slovenia 1-0.
"I'm also happy that I found the team that I knew from the qualifiers. This
team can go forward now."
Germany opened the group stage with a convincing 4-0 win over Australia, as it
got goals from Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller and Cacau. Serbia
stunned Germany in its second match, when Klose was sent off late in the first
half, with a 1-0 win.
But Germany responded in a must-win game against Ghana and claimed the group.
England secured its spot earlier that day as it followed draws against the
U.S. and Algeria with the win over Slovenia.
Klose and England's Jamie Carragher return from one-game suspensions, but the
Germans face injury concerns, with Bastian Schweinsteiger the big unknown.
Schweinsteiger left the Ghana match in the 81st minute with a thigh injury and
would leave a huge void in midfield against England if he is unable to play.
German coach Joachim Loew said Schweinsteiger will be a "last-minute decision"
and "could definitely imagine Toni Kroos taking his place" if necessary.
"Bastian is the heart of the team, the midfield motor, who both defends and
attacks well. It wouldn't exactly be to our advantage if he can't play," Loew
Both Lahm and England captain Steve Gerrard admitted before the game the teams
are preparing for penalties, but history has shown that's not the scenario the
Three Lions want to face against the Die Mannschaft. Germany also beat England
on penalties in the semifinals of Euro 1996.
"We need to find consistency now in the knockout stages," Gerrard said. "If we
turn up and we play close to our potential we are a match for anyone."
06/26 12:13:19 ET