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England vs. Germany FIFA World Cup 2010: Round Of 16 Preview

Samrin HasibAnalyst IJune 26, 2010

Date : 27th June

Venue : Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Germany qualified at the top of their group with two wins and a solitary loss.  Germany’s matches were increasingly uneasy on the eye: they dismantled Australia beautifully, their second performance against Serbia was a good one despite the loss but their third performance was dismal against Ghana.

England played two poor matches against the United States and Algeria and came away with draws while they beat Slovenia and finished second in their group.

The referee for this match happens to be a Uruguayan; thus, thankfully Uruguay won their tie. If Uruguay went out, we might have had another “Undiano”, the man who refereed the game between Germany and Serbia. Unfortunately, this Uruguyan likes to dish out red cards; now that's troublesome.

Tactics and Team break-downs

England will play with a 4-4-2 formation while Germany will play with a 4-5-1. This is where England could get caught out. Germany will play with an extra man in midfield and might just be able to hold out the English midfield. Miro Klose also plays alongside the furthest forward midfielders: so make that five midfielders and an auxiliary one.

As far as the defence is concerned, England have the edge. This is down to the fact that Germany don’t have a proper left-back; well, they actually have one, but this player covers the right flank: Philipp Lahm. Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, Marcell Jansen and Arne Friedrich can all play there though. While Dennis Aogo is a cultured left-back, Joachim Loew has hardly used him.

I think Joachim Loew will use Lahm as a left-back again and place Friedrich on the right if Jerome Boateng is unavailable.

Per Mertesacker has had a poor start to the tournament; Arne Friedrich has been much better but not highly reliable either. Add to this the fact that they both lack pace and you can already see Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney licking their fingers. The drama at the left-back position could lead to a good day for James Milner.

Germany play with two holding midfielders whilst England play with only one true holding midfielder. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira have a lovely partnership; one of them sits back, usually Bastian, and the other moves forward to attack. Bastian’s distribution is second to none. If he is unable to play though, another “wunderkind” will deputise, namely Toni Kroos. 

The attacking midfield area is perhaps going to be a battle of youth against experience. England have Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and James Milner. Only James Milner lacks experience in an English shirt. The German attacking trio is made up of Lukas Podolski, Thomas Mueller and Mesut Oezil.

Only Oezil is a true midfielder and only Podolski has experience in a German shirt. Mueller and Podolski are originally both strikers who can also play as wingers. The true wingers, Piotr Trochowski and Marcell Jansen spend their time discussing tactics with Joachim Loew on the bench.

Germany will have a tough time to defend against two strikers but Germany’s one striker could trouble the English defence. One stat should confirm everything. The English duo have a combined total of one World Cup goal and Klose himself has 11. Yet, Rooney and Defoe are the players on form currently while Klose is going through a “Jekyll and Hyde” period. You never know which Klose will show up.

The game will be open as both teams will feel each other out from the beginning. The game will perhaps then enter a cagey period. An early goal might be scored in this match. Germany will perhaps be the team more willing to counter-attack. Loew will want his players to shut out the England midfield.

In all honesty though, this match is more unpredictable than predictable. And to all England fans, I am assuming that Jermain Defoe will get the nod ahead of Emile Heskey and that James Milner will get the nod ahead of Aaron Lennon. A nifty Aaron Lennon could cause various problems for Germany’s slow defence though.

Probable Line-Ups

Cacau is out of the match due to an abdominal problem while Schweinsteiger and Boateng are still doubtful.

Germany : Neuer; Friedrich, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Lahm; Khedira, Kroos; Mueller, Oezil, Podolski; Klose

England : James; Johnson, Terry, Carragher, A. Cole; Milner, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard; Rooney, Defoe

Other Thoughts

Mental Strength will be a key factor for this match. Mesut Oezil’s grandmother passed away recently and he could have problems dealing with that unless he wants to score a few goals for her. Part of the German side is relatively inexperienced while most of England’s players are really experienced. Thus, England might just win the battle there.

Prediction

This match is too difficult to predict. I would rather read your predictions than predict a scoreline for this match!

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