Sunday, June 27th, 15:00 GMT, Free State Stadium
In what is considered the first of several battles between footballing giants in the knockout stages, Germany and England are countries ready to prove that they have what it takes to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Germany ended up winning Group D after a pretty shocking 1-0 loss to Serbia in their second match. Meanwhile, England comes in battling critics because of their less than inspiring second place finish in Group C. Pundits had them winning the group with relative ease, but instead the United States took the group, and now England has a very tough road ahead of them.
After scoring four great goals against Australia in their first group stage match, Germany look destined to run the table. However, a 1-0 loss to Serbia showed that they can be beat. They only scored one goal in their final match against Ghana, which does not justify how well they were playing at times. England can thank their defense for keeping them around for another match, and Germany will have to figure out a way to penetrate a defense that only allowed one fluke goal to USA midfielder Clint Dempsey. If they can figure it out, then things will be looking up for Die Mannschaft because that appears to be their one inconsistency. Score goals on Sunday, and they will be moving on.
This is a pretty open-ended task that England needs to fulfill. It’s hard to point a finger what they have to do specifically to complete it. But in a nutshell, England have yet to show the killer instinct of a champion. Almost every other team in the Round of 16 has shown more heart than this Three Lions squad. If they think they can get by Germany playing at their current level then they are sadly mistaken. A whole new squad needs to show up on Sunday because Germany is the real deal. England are chronic underachievers, and that trend will continue if they don’t fix most, if not all, of their bad habits. It’s easy to cruise through the group stage, but if they plan on winning the World Cup, the heart of the champion inside of them needs to start beating right this second.
After picking up a knock in their last group stage match against Ghana, Bastian Schweinsteiger is questionable to play against England. Whether he plays or not though, I feel that Germany has been playing much more consistently, and at a higher level, than England. In the end it will come down to toughness, which Germany far surpasses England in. If England shows up then it should be a fantastic match to watch, but ultimately the Germans will win out. Germany wins 3-1.