FIFA World Cup: How Should England Line Up Against Germany?

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
FIFA World Cup: How Should England Line Up Against Germany?
Michael Regan/Getty Images

England successfully saw off Slovenia and in return they recorded their first win of this World Cup.

Now for the tricky part, should Capello change his formula or does the team need tinkering with to cope with the German team, and potentially beyond?

It is fair to say that the German formation, a fluid 4-2-3-1 will be more difficult to contain than the more conservative Slovenian formation, of 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 depending on whether they were attacking or defending.

Goalkeeper: Surprisingly one of the easiest choices. David James. Two games, two clean sheets. His experience could be vital should the dreaded penalties roll around.

Defence: Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole are a cert for the full-back positions, and with Cole in the best form of his life you can see why. Johnson will need to be more defensively aware against a greater attacking threat.

Terry will take one centre-back position, while there is talk of a return for injury prone Tottenham captain Ledely King. Should he be unavailable Jamie Caharager will be back from suspension, but following his good performance against Slovenia my vote would be for Mathew Upson.

Upson had a poor season, but against Slovenia his distribution was good, and he made one spectacular tackle against a Slovenian striker who was in the process of pulling the trigger at close range. Upson's inclusion also means that there is a naturally left footed centre-back in the left centre-back position, something not to be overlooked.

Midfield: The key question. 4-5-1 or 4-4-2, which should be used? England certainly need a holding midfielder which would necessitate Gareth Barry's inclusion. He was a little patchy against Slovenia but he has skills that Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard do not have. Barry's job would be to cover the back four from the probing runs of the likes of Oezil, who if given time and space can be dangerous. Should England progress someone will need to do a similar job on Messi, and once again Barry is the only man with the necessary skills. 

I would play Barry, with Lampard and Gerrard just ahead of him, both with more licence to roam. Gerrard should be given an almost all offensive role, coming deep and looking to dribble in, shoot from range and link with Rooney. Lampard is more suited to a slightly more conservative role, supporting both attack and defence. 

Wide of either of them, true wingers Lennon and Sean Wright-Phillips to add pace. Both Wingers are unfortunately right footed but were they given the freedom to switch at will it would keep the opposing full-backs on their toes all night and help block off their offensive potential.

Striker: Can you look past Wayne Rooney? It is clear that he is not on top form, but he is the best striker in the squad. If it were made clear that he was not to drop deep and collect the ball, but instead to remain in and around the opposing box his natural talent and potent physical strength would mean he takes up much of the defences attention. Something a more free Lampard and Gerrard should be able to exploit to great effect.


This 4-1-2-2-1 sounds complicated but is not beyond the talents of the England team and has the potential to cause a headache for any defence faced with the pace, skill and power of the English attack.

Against Germany the two more aggressive midfielders would limit the two deep German midfielders from having time to plot passes in between opposing attack and midfield, while the fast wingers would stop captain Phillip Lahm's trademark runs.

Further down the line the aging Argentinian midfield would be unable to cope with Gerrard and Lampard combined, and were Gerrard to link with the left hand winger, the Argentinian defence would creak. Maradonna plays a winger at left back in Jonas Gutierez and Martin Demichelis seems to lose focus as soon as he passes the ball away.

England have the potential, they just need the right system. Am I miles off the mark, or am I on to something here? Let me know below.

Follow England (National Football) from B/R on Facebook

Follow England (National Football) from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Team StreamTM

England (National Football)

Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.