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Rooney relishing possible Germany clash
Published : 17 Jun 2010 06:45:00Rss feed
England ace Wayne Rooney has roared back at Germany and their criticism of the Three Lions' tactics by declaring: "We are not scared of you." The Germans have been the stand-out team of the World Cup so far, slamming four goals past Australia on Sunday in a devastating attacking display that contrasted sharply with England's limp efforts in their draw with the United States 24 hours earlier. Franz Beckenbauer wasted no time twisting the knife, claiming England had reverted to "kick and rush" tactics and had gone backwards under Fabio Capello. Under the circumstances, it would seem natural for England to be keen on avoiding Germany in the last 16 given they know their group is paired with the one their old rivals inhabit. But Rooney is not frightened. In fact, he would quite relish the prospect. "Yes. I would like to play Germany. It would be nice to beat them," said the 24-year-old. "They played really well against Australia but there have not been any stand-out teams that I wouldn't like to meet. It is wide open." The mindset is an admirable one given the difficulties England had containing the United States, and the problems that arose, namely Ledley King's injury, Robert Green's blunder and a performance from James Milner rated so poor he was hauled off after half an hour. But Rooney's mentality is one that is shared right across the England camp. He is certain victory will be attained against Algeria in Cape Town on Friday, when Gareth Barry will return, and he doesn't really care how England get it. "The manager is obviously confident and I'm a confident person too," he said. "I believe we will qualify from this group - I don't think there will be any problems about that. "But the performance on Friday is not something I am too worried about. The only thing I am concerned about is winning. "With any tournament it is how you finish and not how you start." Rooney does not have to go back too far for the example of what he means. Four years ago, Italy arrived at the World Cup in the midst of a match-fixing scandal and impressed no-one as they edged out of their group. Yet as each game went by, so Marcello Lippi's men improved. And by the time the trophy was handed out in Berlin, they were the ones receiving it. "They were on the brink of going out in the group stages," recalled Rooney. "Overall, a draw was not a bad result for us against the USA. "It does mean we have to win the next game but we are in good shape to do that." Rooney is not anticipating any problems with Barry's reintroduction to the starting line-up after an ankle injury that threatened to rule him out of the entire competition. It means a slight change in formation, that will involve skipper Steven Gerrard moving into a more advanced position, although the possibility of Jermain Defoe replacing Emile Heskey hints at more than mere tinkering. Rooney admits he knows little about Algeria, other than the presence of Portsmouth midfielder Nadir Belhadj. However, in one sense it represents the start of the World Cup for England. While Saturday's game involved barely a 15-minute journey to the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, tomorrow Capello and his players take a two-hour flight south. It gives Rooney and his team-mates an opportunity to look at different scenery and take a different perspective on a tournament that is yet to burst into life. "Once the World Cup starts there is a lot of focus and excitement back home," said Rooney. "It is brilliant for fans and good to see after games if we win. "I don't know that much about Algeria. We just need to concentrate on what we are doing because even if we are not be at our best we can still win the game - and I am pretty confident we will."