So the draw has been set. Germany, the winners of Group D, have been fixed against England, the runners up of Group C. The clash is set to be one of the biggest fixtures in the Round of 16. Both nations were seen by many a potential winners of the FIFA World Cup of 2010 hosted by South Africa. But as we know only one will go through: so how are they looking after the Group Stage, who are their key-players and who will win?
Germany dealt out a flogging to Australia in their opening match of the 2010 World Cup, followed by a freak loss to an organised Serbian side. They capped off their group fixtures, and ensured their place in the final 16 after a 1-nil win against Ghana.
So far, they have looked menacing, organised and undeniably excellent. So who have been their stand-out players as of yet?
The 21-year-old Werder Bremen playmaker has started the World Cup brilliantly.
Playing in the centre of the three-man attacking-midfield, Özil has already bagged a cracking goal, made an assist, and has been at the heart and soul of everything the Germans have done.
Despite being so young, he has been one of the standout performers at the World Cup so far, and is well within the running to grab the Best Young Player Award, if not the Golden Ball itself.
Lahm was appointed as Germany’s youngest ever captain, after Michael Ballack was injured during Chelsea’s Finals FA Cup battle against Portsmouth. The 26-year-old is well up to the task, having being capped 68 times already.
Playing at right-back, his overlapping runs and amazing dribbling skills cause havoc for opposition defences. His link-up play and passing allow Germany to make the most of the wide areas.
Defensively, while being one of the shortest players in the squad at 170cm, his speed and ability to read the game make him more-than-assured in defence.
After being named the Best Young Player at the World Cup in Germany in 2006, being only 21, Podolski looked like he had the world at his feet.
But, after an unsuccessful spell at Bayern Müchen, he was sold back to F.C Köln, where had seemed to lose his knack for scoring, only hitting the back of the net a measly two times all season.
While his record of late is not all that impressive, what really matters is the capability which he possesses. Strong, with good footwork and an eye for a pass, combined with a rocket left-boot, make 25-year-old Lukas a menace on the field for the German national team.
Predicted by many to win in South Africa, the English have made a slow start to their campaign. A hard-fought battle against U.S.A resulted in a 1-1 draw. Then, being held to a nil all draw by Algeria, it would have been easy for the footballing powerhouse of England to drop out of the race, as did the likes of France and Italy.
Yet, they managed to scrape a 1-0 victory over Slovenia, and therefore cement their place among the Final 16 Teams fighting it out in South Africa.
Despite just shading it in the end, England have in their squad a number of world-class players who could just change the tide against Germany.
After a super season with Manchester United, scoring 34 goals in 44 appearances, a lot was expected during the World Cup, but so far he has been unable to live up to the speculation that many placed upon him.
Blessed with a cool head, pace, and accurate finishing, it is well within the ability of the 23-year-old to still have a big impact on the scene at the World Cup. The game against Germany will decide whether or not he can live up to his worth this World Cup, and England are very much depending upon a stellar performance.
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard
The individual performances of the captain and vice-captain in the centre of midfield control much of the way England play and perform. With a total of 164 caps and 37 goals between them, their experience is vital.
During first few matches of this year’s World Cup, the pair didn’t seem to mesh together as many expected. The result? Two draws. Both must be on top of their game against Germany, otherwise it may have disastrous effects on the immediate future of the English side.
The intriguing fixture between the two world-class sides of England and Germany, will hopefully live up to its speculation as an exciting game.
Two modern powerhouses of world football are set to do battle, and what a battle it will be. This is the part of the World Cup that gets exciting; it is a do or die situation for all the teams remaining, they must all come out with their guns blazing, and play the brilliant football we know they are capable of.
In the encounter between Germany and England, I strongly feel that the way Germany have been playing, with confidence and belief, they will be too much for what seem like an unified English squad. That is my opinion, and only time will tell.
But, what do you think?