DIETMAR HAMANN: I make England slight favourites against Germany but it’s the hype that will kill you! If this young Three Lions team can’t deal with the tension and pressure, they could go to pieces
The hype surrounding England’s game against Germany on Tuesday, and this fixture in general, never fails to amaze me – and I do think it might work against Gareth Southgate’s young side.
The English are almost obsessed with games between the two countries and I know that from how often people keep dredging up the 5-1 win in Munich in 2001. That was 20 years ago for heaven’s sake.
I’m 100 per cent surprised that people in England still talk about that game. I played in three Germany-England games, the first a group game at Euro 2000 in Belgium which England won 1-0 and neither of us qualified.
I make England favourites for Tuesday’s game because I’ve seen nothing from Germany
And then there were the two World Cup qualifiers. I scored the only goal at Wembley in Kevin Keegan’s last match as England manager, another game that seems to have a lot of importance over there. It wasn’t a career highlight for me.
And then came the 5-1, the game you won’t forget. Yet it was only a qualifier, not even at a major finals.
Losing that game actually, in a funny way, did us a favour because it meant we had to go through the playoffs for the 2002 World Cup against Ukraine, and I think it really galvanised us and brought us together.
And, of course by the time we were playing in the World Cup final England’s players were already on holiday.
The English are almost obsessed with games between the two countries and I know that from how often people keep dredging up the 5-1 win in Munich in 2001
In Germany we know the history of the match, of ‘66, Italia ‘90, the Euro 96 shootout, but those games just don’t absorb us in quite the same way.
I make England favourites for Tuesday’s game because I’ve seen nothing from us over the first three games to change my view on a group who I had little faith in anyway. And I think England look so defensively secure.
But what might work against Gareth Southgate and England is the hype surrounding this game.
As soon as it became clear on Wednesday that our two countries were going to meet at Wembley, the press and the public went into overdrive. And there is no way that the players can escape that – they are based in England; they can see the headlines.
It’s all very well saying ‘don’t read the papers’ but Southgate’s players will be swimming in it and acutely aware of the mood of the country and the level of expectation.
I’ve haven’t seen anything from us so far at Euro 2020 on a team who I had little faith in
I don’t trust Joachim Low to pick the right team and I don’t see any unity in this group
And that can be draining, that can sap energy levels and if the England players – and remember it’s a young team – can’t deal with the tension, the hype and the added pressure which this match has produced then they could go to pieces.
As for us, if you’d have offered me four points and a place in the knockout phase in the softest half of the draw before the tournament had started, I’d have bitten your arm off.
We aren’t playing well, I don’t trust Joachim Low to pick the right team and I don’t see any unity in this group, but we’re still in it. And if Low takes a couple of risks we could still go further.
That means going back to a defensive four, bringing Marcel Halstenberg in ahead of Robin Gosens, starting Leon Goretzka alongside Toni Kroos and taking a punt from the start on Jamal Musiala.
However, the hype surrounding this game can be draining and could work against England
We are so static, but Goretzka can drive with the ball while Musiala is so exciting, quick, can drop the shoulder, will take on players.
And to think, he played for England at youth level. He looks like one who got away because he is a brilliant young talent.
The longer the game goes, say at 0-0 or 1-1, then I would fancy Germany a little bit more. It’s about keeping calm the nearer the game gets to the close – and yes, possibly penalties – and I think we do that well.
And if it does go to penalties? Well, England got the monkey off their back against Colombia at the last World Cup – but I’d still take us to win.