ERASMIA - Germany may have
been stroking cute little lion cubs on Friday morning but when
they take on England, nicknamed "Three Lions", on Sunday, they
will be far less gentle, captain Philipp Lahm warned.
Germany are going into their World Cup second round clash on
Sunday in Bloemfontein with their youngest World Cup team in 76
years but Lahm said there was no fear taking on a far more
"We saw lions this morning, we did not touch the big ones
and we stroked their cubs but on Sunday we will be going into
the one-on-one's with far more aggression," Lahm said after a
visit to a lion park.
"It will be a tough game, a fight for every centimetre,
where a single mistake can be decisive. But we are mentally in
top condition, everyone is looking forward to this and there is
a great, great desire," said the defender.
Lahm played down the importance of past World Cup and
European Championship encounters between the two sides,
including in the 1990s, saying most of the players in the
Germany squad were either not born or were too young to
experience them at the time.
"The games of the past do not play a great role. But the
matches are always a great occasion (back home). Back home the
whole day will be determined by this game. You will not drive to
the lake because you will be watching the game," he said.
Coach Joachim Low, who is still hoping his injured
playmaker Bastian Schweinsteiger will be fit in time for the
match, said while the English side were bursting with talent and
experience, his team was in no way just a "nice team".
"This is youthful exuberance against experience. England
have an outstanding fighting spirit and this burning ambition,"
said Low. "This axis of John Terry, (Frank) Lampard, (Steven)
Gerrard and Wayne Rooney is just amazing."
"But we are not just a nice team. You can see in our
training what kind of competition there is among the players."
"There is no fear. Sure there is tension, maybe some
nervousness but it is a positive nervousness."
Low said he knew enough about their opponents to be aware
of their strengths and weaknesses, while his team would need to
improve on their finishing.
"Against Ghana we were not good in the final third of the
pitch. We have to finish off our moves better against England,"
"If we do not do that then Gerrard and Lampard will have
lots of space in midfield and then they will be all but
"But I am happy to report that none of my players was eaten
by lions today," he said.
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