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Saturday, June 26, 2010
Updated: June 27, 9:53 AM ET
England-Germany preview notes


Posted by ESPN Stats & Information

Germany versus England, Sunday
Free State Stadium -- Bloemfontein

Storylines

• England versus Germany is the classic World Cup rivalry, a game steeped in history, controversy, drama and indelible moments. This round of 16 matchup is likely to be all that and more.

• England has played Germany four times at the World Cup, and each game has finished level after 90 minutes, with three extending to extra time and one being decided on penalty kicks.

• Penalty kicks: For England it's the most dreaded two words in soccer. England is 0-3 in penalty kicks at the World Cup. The Three Lions lost to Germany in the 1990 semifinals and were eliminated in the 2006 quarterfinals as well (by Portugal). Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Jamie Carragher all failed to score in the Portugal shootout.

• Reportedly Fabio Capello has selected his penalty takers for a shootout and those players have been practicing kicks in training: Lampard, Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and the inexperienced James Milner have been earmarked, with Gareth Barry expected to be the fifth nominee.

• Germany is 4-0 in penalty kicks at the World Cup, the all-time leader. Only one German player (Uli Stielike against France in 1982) has ever failed to convert a penalty kick in a shootout.

Series history

• England lead series 12-10-5

What to look for

• Mesut Ozil: The 21-year-old Werder Bremen midfielder has emerged has as one of soccer's new stars at this World Cup, including a great strike in the win over Ghana.

• Miroslav Klose returns: The German striker was suspended for the Ghana game but is expected to return. Currently tied for fifth on the all-time World Cup scoring list with 11 goals, another goal would move Klose into a fourth-place tie with Pele.

• Bastian Schweinsteiger injury: Germany's midfield leader injured his ankle in the Ghana game and is doubtful. How important is Schweinsteiger? Since he debuted in June 2004, Germany has won 71 percent of its major tournament (World Cup, Euros, Confederations Cup) games when he's played (12-3-3) and just 29 percent when he doesn't (2-3-2).

• Will Jermain Defoe start again for England? In 16 appearances under Capello, Defoe has averaged a goal every 76 minutes.

• Analysis from German defender Arne Friedrich, from PA Sport: "England have gone through several phases and in terms of their match experiences they are certainly favorites, but the Ghana game has made us mentally stronger and at least as mentally strong as to hold our own against England. Both nations are major football nations. If you look at the individual players England certainly have a slight advantage. We as Germans have an advantage that we are a team who have always got into their stride as the tournament goes on. It's a completely open match but, as I said, we need to play differently than we did against Ghana. We were slightly inhibited against Ghana, because we always had that worst-case scenario at the back of our minds, but that has been released, the steam has been let-off, and we can approach the England game freer."

• Analysis from Wayne Rooney: "Yes! It would be nice to beat them."

From the research room

• Germany World Cup streak: West Germany/Germany has reached the last eight of every World Cup since 1954.

• It is eight matches in total since Rooney scored in an official game for England, his longest drought since November 2005.

• Fourteen of the Three Lions' last 15 wins at the World Cup came keeping a clean sheet.

• Germany is the second-youngest team at the World Cup.

• David James, at age 39, will be the third-oldest goalkeeper to start a knockout round game in the World Cup. Dino Zoff was the starting goalkeeper at age 40 when Italy won the World Cup in 1982 and Peter Shilton led England to the semifinals in 1990 at age 40.