Arch-rival England meet Germany in knockout game today | sports | Hindustan Times
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Arch-rival England meet Germany in knockout game today

Fabio Capello claims England's win over Slovenia has liberated his squad from the demons of self-doubt that haunted their faltering first steps at this World Cup. If he is right, the evidence of a successful exorcism will be presented in Bloemfontein today in the last 16 clash with Germany. Special

sports Updated: Jun 27, 2010 12:30 IST

Fabio Capello claims England's win over Slovenia has liberated his squad from the demons of self-doubt that haunted their faltering first steps at this World Cup.

If he is right, the evidence of a successful exorcism will be presented here on Sunday in the last 16 clash with Germany.

On paper, it is a match in which an England side stuffed with experienced campaigners should prevail over opponents with an average age below 25.

World Cup history suggests it will not be that simple.

Capello can look back on the 2-1 win an injury-depleted England side recorded in Berlin in November 2008 as proof that his side are more than a match for opponents missing their injured skipper Michael Ballack.

But no England fan will need reminding that the last two meetings of the countries at international touranments, in the semifinals of Italia 90 and Euro 96, ended in painful, penalty shoot-out defeats.

Form at this World Cup also points to another tense, finely-balanced encounter with England having come good only in their final group game while the Germans started at a sprint against Australia only to find the going tougher later.

“Against Slovenia we did really very well in every area of the pitch,” Capello said. “The positions we took up were very good. We won back the ball and played quickly.”

Germany's players on the other hand have acknowledged England’s experience should count in their favour. “Both teams go into the game with a certain amount of respect,” Loew said. “England though, know that we are quite capable of beating them.” With Mesut Ozil in, Germans will have little to fear.