Ahead of next Tuesday’s Round of 16 clashes between England and Germany at the magnificent Wembley Stadium, two coaches with everything to lose have made a bold statement on their determination to win the game.
Recall that Germany was on the verge of an early exit from the competition until Leon Goretzka netted in the 84th minute against Hungary to secure Die Mannschaft’s passage to the knockout rounds at Euro 2020.
The game which ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, means Germany will face an England side that also secured qualification to the Round of 16 after defeating the Czech 1-0 in the final group match.
This will be a repeat of the Euro ‘96 semi-final, which the Germans won via a penalty shootout before going on to win the competition.
While Gareth Southgate will want to exorcise those demons given it was his missed penalty that cost England, this could also be Joachim Low’s final game as Germany boss as he prepares to step down after the tournament.
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Low has promised Germany will be much improved for their round of 16 meetings with England.
“We made mistakes but we fought, showed character. It was not for the faint-hearted. In the end to come through this group was good and that was the aim. What matters is that we are through. Now we play with England and we can look forward to that match.
“It is an absolute highlight to play at Wembley against England. We will be a different team than tonight, I can promise you that. All the “small” teams invest so much work and defend well. Hungary played with ten men in their own half and they had nothing to lose. It’s great that we got through in this tough group. Now we can look forward to a match against England.
“We showed great morale. It was good to see that we fought hard until we got the equalizer. It was a nervy match. We knew Hungary would give it its all. I am just happy we got through in this group.”
On the other hand, Southgate said that he’s ready to ring the changes again after admitting England “have to find different ways to win.”
“There are a lot of players who are lacking a bit of match sharpness and match fitness and I am not sure there is a way around that. In doing that we have to find different ways to win. It’s a strange one because of course, we have so many good attacking players.
“Our delivery hasn’t been good really. There was the one against Scotland where John Stones hit the post which was bang on the money and Trippier’s delivery in the first game was excellent and we haven’t matched that since. It’s quite rare for us. We have gone four or five matches without a set-piece goal and that’s an area we can improve upon.”