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Stuart Dalgleish 26th Jun 2010 - 12:01

Don’t mention the draw!

As soon as England fans found out that their team were to face Germany there was only one word on everyone's lips - penalties!

It's not just Germany (9/5 to win in 90 minutes, evens to qualify) that cause England (17/10 90 mins, 5/6 qualify, the draw 2/1) problems with spot-kicks; the Three Lions have been knocked out of five tournaments since 1990 on penalties, by the Germans twice, Argentina once and the last two tournaments that England have qualified for Portugal have ended their interest via the dreaded penalty shootout.

It makes it almost imperative that Fabio Capello's team get the job done in 90 minutes because, let's be honest, how many games nowadays have a team win once it goes to extra-time? A 90 minute draw now almost certainly means penalties as teams focus on trying not to lose rather than trying to win and matches can tend to be cagey affairs.

What worries me though is that England have hardly looked like a team capable of taking it to the opposition and wrapping up the match early doors, yes they have taken the lead in two games but they're not looking like a team that will dominate proceedings.

Against Slovenia they had some extremely hairy moments, and in the Algeria match a better team surely would've scored, the African's didn't seem to believe they could win otherwise I think they would have.

The main thing for England though is that they got through the group stage, and unlike their opponents and quite a few other teams, they qualified undefeated.

I'm not sure of the history but I can't recall a World Cup where so many teams have got into the last 16 having lost a match, half of the sides in the knockout stages have all suffered defeat then you've got the plucky New Zealanders going home undefeated, that's just how it goes though at the World Cup sometimes.

Germany, of course, are one of those teams that lost a group stage game, when everything it seemed went wrong for them against Serbia.

They had Miroslav Klose (7/1 first goal, 2/1 anytime) sent off and their other striker Lukas Podolski (8/1 first, 11/4 any) missed a penalty (so there is hope!) in a game where they were well on top but didn't ever look like scoring thanks to the heroics of Vladimir Stojkovic in the Serbian net.

It's been a strange World Cup for Joachim Loew's charges, they were the best team of the first round of group games by far after their demolition of Australia, then had one of those days against the Serbs before beating Ghana thanks to a wonder strike from Mesut Ozil (14/1 first, 11/2 any), in that match though they had to dig deep to beat the stubborn African side.

Ozil currently plies his trade in his homeland, like all the players that will be in action in Sunday's game, but you have to think that he won't be after the World Cup finishes.

If the Werder Bremen ace doesn't want to leave Germany then I imagine Bayern Munich will be his most likely destination, but plenty of Premier League managers and the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho wouldn't mind him in their squad for next season too; the bidding war should begin after 11 July.

Ozil aside that is the difference between England and Germany though, so many of the Three Lions' squad would command a huge fee if they were to transfer clubs but I don't think you can say the same of the Germans.

You could argue there's a couple of exceptions with the likes of Thomas Muller (12/1 first, 5/1 any) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (16/1 first, 6/1 any) but by and large the perspective value of the squad would likely to be a lot less than England's.

However, that's for their club teams, and here is the difference with England; while Frank Lampard (9/1 first, 10/3 any) and Wayne Rooney (11/2 first, 6/4 any), amongst others, have enjoyed outstanding domestic campaigns and have been winning trophies the pair haven't done it in an England shirt for a while now.

You compare those two with, for example, Germany's likely front two of Klose and Podolski then you'll see two players who didn't enjoy their season at club level but both can just turn it on when they play for the national team.

They both have brilliant scoring records for Die Mannschaft, and in fact Klose is just one goal shy of a half century for his country, the afore mentioned Schweinsteiger too has a solid rate from midfield and has a knack of popping up in big matches with goals, Gareth Barry (25/1 first, 8/1 any) will have to keep the Bayern man well shackled on Sunday, although he is struggling with a hamstring so that could help England's chances.

If Barry can do a job on the Germany midfield then England just might have a chance of progressing in 90 minutes, however with England's history in knockout games, and their history of knockout games with Germany in particular, I cannot see past the 90 minute draw at 2/1.

Goals are likely to be at a premium too, under 2.5 should be profitable for you at 4/9 and I'd look at 1-1 at 5/1 or even a 0-0 at 6s.

I don't think a repeat of Englan's famous 5-1 is very likely! (200/1 if you did fancy a punt though)

Both teams are priced at 10s to win via a penalty shootout or 11s to win in extra time like a certain World Cup match nearly 50 years ago.



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