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Euro 2020: Who makes Sportsmail’s combined XI ahead of England’s clash with Germany?

England take on Germany in a mouth-watering clash of the titans in the Euro 2020 last-16 this evening – and there will be an abundance of riches on show.

The Three Lions will step out at Wembley having topped Group D with seven points, and the hopes of a nation fall on their shoulders as they look to win a first international trophy since 1966.

As for Germany, Joachim Low guided his team through Group F, the Group of Death, despite losing to France and drawing with Hungary – and they will look to avoid an early exit by beating their old foes.

Sportsmail has taken a look at both nations and picked out a combined XI with just hours to go until kick-off in the capital…

England take on Germany in their Euro 2020 tie tonight with a quarter-final spot up for grabs

Germany sealed their progression from Group F and will look to avoid an early exit at Wembley

Germany sealed their progression from Group F and will look to avoid an early exit at Wembley

GOALKEEPER – MANUEL NEUER

He may not be the truly world-class goalkeeper he once was, but there is no doubting that Manuel Neuer is still a superb shot-stopper.

Now aged 35, he is coming towards the end of his trophy-laden career, and there is no doubting he will want a first European Championship to add to his collection.

That quest will be renewed tonight with the knockout stages now underway, and Neuer has got the nod ahead of England custodian Jordan Pickford.

Pickford is perhaps unfortunate to miss out, having kept three clean sheets so far, but Neuer has been chosen for his experience and lightning-sharp reflexes. 

His sweeper-keeper tendencies will also benefit Germany in their build-up, and help cut off any probing balls forward for Harry Kane and his team-mates.

Manuel Neuer gets the nod in goal with Germany's stopper still one of the best in the world

Manuel Neuer gets the nod in goal with Germany’s stopper still one of the best in the world

CENTRE BACK – HARRY MAGUIRE

A fit-again Harry Maguire is England’s best defender by a comfortable margin. 

Adept at hoisting forward long balls, and equally as comfortable bringing out possession from the back, the Manchester United man is a nailed-on starter if he has fully recovered from injury.

He is certainly faced with fierce competition in this position from both teams, but he edges out the likes of Kyle Walker, Matthias Ginter and Antonio Rudiger to get the selection here.

Maguire receives his fair share of criticism, there is no doubting that, but he is a safe pair of hands and will be crucial in shutting out Germany’s lethal frontline. 

Harry Maguire is comfortably England's best defender when fit, and he's also been selected

Harry Maguire is comfortably England’s best defender when fit, and he’s also been selected

CENTRE BACK – MATS HUMMELS

Mats Hummels endured a horror start to Euro 2020 after a calamitous own goal against France, but since then he has almost returned to his commanding best.

As well as averaging around three interceptions per game, the grizzled veteran has also been impressive in the air, and he will need to step up once again for this Wembley showdown.   

Over the years, Hummels has been a favourite of boss Low, and the Three Lions may need to be at their sparkling best up front to get the better of him.

His mobility could prove to be an issue, and any runners darting across or behind him may be the way to go for England, but Hummels will likely fancy his chances when shackling the misfiring Kane.  

Mats Hummels has bounced back from his horror own goal and is a commanding centre back

Mats Hummels has bounced back from his horror own goal and is a commanding centre back

CENTRE BACK – JOHN STONES

Admittedly, this one is an interesting choice. John Stones lines up as the third centre back in this team, with Rudiger and Ginter again missing out.

The reason behind this is England’s steadfast defending so far at the tournament, with Stones having shown impressive maturity and decision-making to help secure the three clean sheets. 

Germany, on the other hand, have occasionally looked all at sea when forced back towards their own goal, and England will look to take advantage of this. 

With no goals conceded, the Three Lions ultimately eased into the last-16, but tonight’s rivals will prove a much sterner test after they made it out of a tricky group. 

Gareth Southgate is widely expected to return to a five-man backline, with Stones, Maguire and Walker likely to reprise their roles from the 2018 World Cup. 

John Stones is the third centre back for this combined XI and has shown impressive maturity

John Stones is the third centre back for this combined XI and has shown impressive maturity

RIGHT WING BACK – JOSHUA KIMMICH

Fielded at wing back, the wonderfully versatile Joshua Kimmich has caught the eye yet again, and he gets the nod in this team.

Germany have impressed down their two flanks, especially in their 4-2 rout of Portugal, and Kimmich has been crucial at both ends with his relentless energy and creative vision.  

Walker is perhaps unfortunate to miss out yet again, while Reece James is another contender. Ultimately, though, it is Kimmich who lines up on the right, and he remains one of the finest players in world football. 

His position is integral to how Germany will play, but any failure on his part to drop back at speed may see England enjoy great success in behind him. 

Joshua Kimmich remains a wonderfully versatile star and he will play again at right wing back

Joshua Kimmich remains a wonderfully versatile star and he will play again at right wing back

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – TONI KROOS

What a player Toni Kroos is. So effortless in possession, the 31-year-old is typically at the heart of everything good from Germany.

His superb range allows him to spread play wherever he chooses, and his importance is underlined by the fact that no player pulled off more passes than him during the group stages.   

Despite this, some have argued that Kroos has been a little underwhelming, but it would be foolish to leave him out of this combined XI.

Mason Mount, Leon Goretzka, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips have not made the cut, with Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can also missing out. 

Yes, some tough choices were made, but Kroos was one of the first names on the team sheet. Expect him to stride out for this one in his usual style and look to take it by the scruff of its neck. 

Toni Kroos is just as effortless in possession as ever and he is one of Germany's key performers

Toni Kroos is just as effortless in possession as ever and he is one of Germany’s key performers

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – ILKAY GUNDOGAN

It was a scintillating campaign at Manchester City for Ilkay Gundogan, and he will now hope to win another trophy, this time on the international stage, with Germany. 

His 17 goals in all competitions at club level saw him take his game to another level altogether, and he is capable of doing it all – shuttling the ball forwards, passing through the lines, and even doing the dirty work defensively. 

All these attributes have helped him to become an integral performer in Germany’s system, and he will need to be somewhere near the peak of his powers to help his team gain control of the midfield tonight.

Phil Foden, a club-mate at the Etihad, may even have been eyeing up this position, along with the names above, but Gundogan’s irresistible form, experience for his country and many qualities have seen him picked. 

Ilkay Gundogan is targeting an international trophy after a fine season with Manchester City

Ilkay Gundogan is targeting an international trophy after a fine season with Manchester City

LEFT WING BACK – ROBIN GOSENS

It is a straight tussle between Robin Gosens and Denzel Dumfries to be named as the best wing back at the tournament, but the flying Germany man may very well just be edging it.

The 26-year-old is dynamic, energetic and relentless down the left channel – and it is fair to say that he has gone under the radar at Atalanta. Well, not anymore. He has been outstanding this summer.

Gosens announced his arrival at the tournament by scoring once and picking up two assists in the win against Portugal, and his style of play is likely to pose England all sorts of headaches.

His deliveries are typically pin-point, whipped in with plenty of pace and curve, and he also has a surprising eye for goal, shown in his arrival at the back post to tuck in against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.

As with Kimmich, he may leave space in behind, but his prowess going forward will certainly help Germany in their bid to reach the quarter-finals. 

Robin Gosens has burst into the spotlight this summer and is set to pose England a headache

Robin Gosens has burst into the spotlight this summer and is set to pose England a headache

RIGHT WINGER – KAI HAVERTZ 

Kai Havertz has taken on a big role for Germany at Euro 2020, and he helped them finish second in a very difficult group. His two goals more than justified his selection out on the right, and he also helped force two own goals.

When at the top of his game, his movement is almost impossible to contain, and he will look to cause havoc in and around the expected three-man defence England have opted for.

Serge Gnabry almost got the nod here, but Havertz’s intelligence when moving in from the flank gives him a slender advantage. Jadon Sancho was also considered, but his lack of minutes ruled him out.

He truly came of age last season at Chelsea after a difficult start to the campaign, but now he has the Three Lions in his sights. They will have to be aware of his abilities, or they will surely pay the price. 

Kai Havertz's movement makes him a valuable asset for Germany, and he starts down the right

Kai Havertz’s movement makes him a valuable asset for Germany, and he starts down the right

STRIKER – HARRY KANE

It’s been a chastening tournament so far for England captain Harry Kane, but tonight is the perfect time for him to rediscover his form. 

His group stage performances were characterised by a lack of chances, and him dropping into a deep position to move the ball on. The work was selfless, but supporters were frustrated at the lack of a focal point.

This storm may have convinced Gareth Southgate to pull his star man out of the firing line, but he kept his faith in him for the Czech Republic clash and will do so again against Germany.

Kane’s raw statistics simply don’t lie, and beneath the slight doubt there is still a truly world-class frontman desperate to burst into life. The stage is set for him, but will he be able to deliver?

Harry Kane is yet to score at Euro 2020 and he will want to break his duck against Germany

Harry Kane is yet to score at Euro 2020 and he will want to break his duck against Germany

LEFT WINGER – RAHEEM STERLING

Jack Grealish may be the name on everyone’s lips in England currently, but Raheem Sterling has defied his doubters brilliantly to take up the mantle on the left wing and keep his spot. 

His future is clouded in speculation, and the news he would start against Croatia was likely met by a nationwide sigh. After a difficult start, however, he was able to wheel away in celebration and has since kicked on.

The showings have got better and the end product, while still inconsistent, can be right on the money. He also remains the only Three Lions player to have scored at Euro 2020, and he will look to threaten Germany’s backline this time around.   

A host of other big names, namely Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Leroy Sane, may have fancied their chances, but Sterling’s record so far sees him round off this star-studded team.  

Raheem Sterling remains the only Three Lions player to have scored at the tournament so far

Raheem Sterling remains the only Three Lions player to have scored at the tournament so far

Sportsmail's final team is above, in a 3-4-3 set-up, ahead of tonight's clash of the heavyweights

Sportsmail‘s final team is above, in a 3-4-3 set-up, ahead of tonight’s clash of the heavyweights

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