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ANALYSIS: GERMANY V ENGLAND

Its a must win game as we enter the knockout stages for both sides. Its a game that neither side wanted before the tournament started, but...

England players listen to their team coach Fabio Capello during a training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)


Its a must win game as we enter the knockout stages for both sides. Its a game that neither side wanted before the tournament started, but its one both countries and the World are looking forward to as this IS the biggest game of the World Cup so far. This is Germany v England!.

Both sides come into the game today off the back of wins in their final group games. The german's had a blip against Serbia but have recovered and got back to winning ways against Ghana.

On the other hand England after two successive draws against USA and reported minnows Algeria bounced back with a win against Slovenia to finish second in the group and onto todays game with group winners Germany.

England have no reported injuries and are a full strength. The only problem for Capello will be who to play up front and also alongside John Terry. I have a feeling that Ledley King will return to the side today as his physical strength will be needed against the German machine.

Germany however do have Cacau out with injury and whether or not Schweinsteiger is fully fit we will only find out in todays game.

June 13, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02200145 German national soccer team players (top row, L-R) goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Holger Badstuber, Arne Friedrich, Per Mertesacker, Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose; (front row, L-R) team captain Philipp Lahm, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger pose for photographers before the FIFA World Cup 2010 group D preliminary round match between Germany and Australia at the Durban stadium, Durban, South Africa, 13 June 2010.


I have had a look at Germany and their performances so far in the World Cup. These are what I see as the German strengths and their weaknesses ahead of the vital World Cup last 16 knockout round today.

STRENGTHS:

Germany attack with 6 men forward most of the time. Lahm, Kadeira, Muller, Klose, Podolski and Oezil will all look to get forward.

Their movement off the ball. England have to be aware of Oezil's movement as he plays a free role and also Muller likes to come inside off the right hand side. Oezil is the danger man!. We need to watch his late runs. Barry needs to stick on him. He likes to float all over the pitch, If Barry can get the better of him early doors then we could see him drift out the game totally.

Need to be aware of runs Lahm makes as he likes to get forward whenever he can. He likes to link up down the right with Muller and has already had a hand in a goal or two already.

WEAKNESSES:

The Germans do not track back efficiently enough. With a slowish back four there is often a gap between the defence and midfield and this can be highlighted when their 6 man attack pushes forward and loses the ball. Schweinsteiger, Kadeira, Oezil are the men in the middle and to begin with will look to play their part helping out at the back, but as the game goes on England can expose the gaps and Lampard and Gerrard can get into the box unmarked and punish Germany.

The left back whoever they choose IS their weak-link. Against Serbia for the goal and time and time again, Serbia's right winger was allowed to cut inside or to get a cross into the box without being put under pressure. If Milner can expose their left back, England can have joy all game. The left back hardly ever looks to get forward so Milner could be key today.

Zonal marking from corners. Against Australia they defended corners with 2 players on the posts, 7 players in and around the 6-yard box with one just outside the box. As a corner came over Tim Cahill was able to get a free header on goal as the German's standing still have to make a standing jump compared to Cahill's run and jump momentum. This is definatley another area that the likes of JT can expose today.

England just need to keep it tight, press the man on the ball and track Oezil. If we do that we can expose the German weaknesses and win the game.

COME ON ENGLAND!

June 23, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Slovenia v England FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group C - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa - 23/6/10..England manager Fabio Capello.




KTBFFH

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