Gareth Southgate is looking to secure passage through to the last eight with the knockout phase kicking off for them against Germany in Tuesday’s eagerly-anticipated clash.
Much has been made of the clash with Germany, 25 years on from the semi-final Wembley meeting at Euro 96 which the visitors won on penalties.
There has been plenty of negative discussion surrounding England’s group-stage displays, despite the fact they progressed with two wins and a draw to set up Tuesday’s round of 16 clash against Germany.
But for German newspapers the match has al
“The balance sheet looks good for the German team.
“The Three Lions know that too.”
They continued: “And since the 1966 World Cup triumph against Uwe Seeler, Franz Beckenbauer & Co. in the sanctuary of British football (made even more mystical by the Wembley goal in extra time), the English have only experienced losses in knock-out duels with the ‘Krauts’.
“Whether in 1970 during the World Cup in Mexico (2:3 after extra time), in the penalty shoot-out at the 1990 World Cup and the European Championship in 1996 or in the round of 16 in 2010 in South Africa (1:4).”
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Christian Ziege (European Championship champion from 1996) told the paper: “Even if it was all a long time ago, you as a player inevitably notice it in the days before such a game.
“And you have that in the back of your head when you walk onto the field.”
Former Chelsea legionnaire and Bayern professional Michael Ballack told Bild: “The English don’t really like playing against Germany.
“Such statistics can ultimately play a decisive role in the subconscious.”
Thomas Müller said: “Of course we want to poke this English tournament wound again and again. We want to unsettle them.
“We have to be prepared for the fact that it will also be a mental test. I think the English are trying a bit to convince themselves.
“They are a bit more confident in terms of results than we were in the round of 16, but in terms of tournament performance they can’t compete with the Italians, who currently excel.”
Gareth Southgate dismissed Euro 96 comparisons.
Southgate said his penalty miss at Euro 96 was “irrelevant” heading into Tuesday’s knockout clash against Germany.
The Three Lions topped Group D unbeaten and without conceding, but the manager insisted Tuesday is not a chance to exorcise demons, but for his players to add a new chapter to their story.
“This team, I’ve said for a long time, have had so many unique achievements and my focus is on this team and helping them to succeed,” Southgate said in a conversation with BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT, “what’s happened for me as a player is totally irrelevant in terms of tomorrow’s game, so of course I’m always motivated to want to win.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg