Martin Keown - England will beat Germany
Published: 26 Jun 2010 - 08:41:59
It simply doesn't get any bigger than England versus Germany.
I played against the Germans in Euro 2000 and it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments of my career. We beat them 1-0 on that occasion, our first competitive victory over the old enemy since the 1966 World Cup final.
And even though it was only the group stage of the tournament, beating Germany was hugely important for both the players and the fans back at home.
The rivalry is so steeped in history that the entire country was even more behind us then and it will be exactly the same for the players over in South Africa now.
Germany won't be easy - they are a very good team and looked impressive in their 4-0 win over Australia. Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose will provide the biggest threat but our back-four have looked pretty strong in the group stage.
Hopefully we'll do enough to beat them within 90 minutes but if not then I have faith if it comes to penalties. We have more than enough good penalty-takers and we're also due a bit of luck, so I'm backing us to upset the history books and win if it comes down to spot-kicks.
Personally I don't even think the game will make it to extra-time, let alone a shootout. England will win on Sunday - I'm very confident of that.
Against Slovenia we saw glimpses of the quality our squad possesses. Steven Gerrard stuck to the left flank and was arguably our outstanding player on the day.
James Milner came in and did very well on the right. His crossing ability gave us something we'd been lacking against the United States and Algeria. Jermain Defoe looked sharp and took his goal extremely well. He also played on the last shoulder of the defence which allowed Wayne Rooney more freedom.
Rooney himself looked much better than he did against Algeria and he linked up well with Gerrard - something we'd all been hoping would happen in the first two games. Matthew Upson looked solid at the heart of the back-four with John Terry and I definitely think he should keep his place ahead of Jamie Carragher and Ledley King.
I think Capello will keep the same formation and team when we take on Germany on Sunday afternoon and for me that's the right decision. You shouldn't change a winning team and on Wednesday we started to see the sort of football that we all know England are capable of.
If the players believe in themselves and play to their best then we can all start to look forward to the prospect of another huge rivalry in the quarter-final - Diego Maradona and Argentina.
MARTIN KEOWN WILL BE BLOGGING EXCLUSIVELY FOR FOOTBALL.CO.UK THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CUP
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Martin Keown
- Ex-England defender and Arsenal legend Martin Keown went to two World Cups as a player, so he knows what it takes to get the Edge against the best teams in the world. He'll be giving us expert insights and opinion from South Africa throughout the tournament at http://www.facebook.com/lucozadesportfootball.
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