Ger­many leads in the mind games

Goal­keeper ready for sud­den death shoot-out

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

GER­MANY goal­keeper Manuel Neuer in­sists he will be ready to give Eng­land more World Cup heartache should to­mor­row’s Round of 16 clash against Eng­land be de­cided by a penalty shoot-out.

Ger­many have won all four of their penalty shoot-outs at World Cup fi­nals and the 24year-old Neuer says he has no in­ten­tion of see­ing that record bro­ken should the game with Eng­land be de­cided by the dreaded spot-kicks.

“We hope it won’t get as far as that, but if it does, I will be ready,” said the Schalke 04 shot­stop­per. “As a goal­keeper you can only win at a penalty shootout as noth­ing is re­ally ex­pected of you, I never ap­proach shoot-outs in a neg­a­tive man­ner. I will pre­pare for it of course, we have some good penalty tak­ers, but so do they, we just have to play the me­mory game.”

Few Eng­land fans will need re­mind­ing of the heart­break of Turin in the 1990 World Cup semi-fi­nal when Chris Wad­dle and Stu­art Pearce both missed penal­ties as Ger­many won the shoot-out 4-3 on their way to win­ning the ti­tle.

Ger­many’s amaz­ing run of penalty shoot-out suc­cess started at the 1982 World Cup in Spain when they beat France 54 on spot-kicks in the semi­fi­nal, be­fore los­ing the fi­nal to Italy. They then beat hosts Mex­ico 4-1 in a quar­ter-fi­nal shootout at the 1986 World Cup on their way to los­ing the fi­nal 3-2 to Ar­gentina. Jens Lehmann was the goal­keep­ing hero in 2006 as hosts Ger­many beat Ar­gentina 4-2 when the quar­ter-fi­nal was de­cided by a penalty shoot-out. Ger many went on to fin­ish third.

Neuer has re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence of a con­vinc­ing vic­tory over the English when he was in the Ger­many team which ham­mered their old ri­vals 4-0 in last year’s Euro­pean Un­der21 Cham­pi­onships in Swe­den.

Me­sut Ozil, one of Ger­many’s ris­ing stars at this World Cup, was Eng­land’s chief tor­men­tor that day scor­ing one of the goals, but Neuer says it will not be so easy in Bloemfontein to­mor­row.

“We played them twice in that tour­na­ment, we drew 1-1 with them in the group game, so we al­ready know it will not be easy,” said Neuer. “Me­sut Ozil had a great day and he hit the tar­get, but this will be a to­tally dif­fer­ent match.”

The av­er­age age of the Ger­man team is just un­der 25 and their lack of ex­pe­ri­ence showed in the group stages here as they bounced back from the shock 1-0 de­feat to Ser­bia with a nervy win over Ghana on Wed­nes­day.

Neuer says now the Ger­mans have reached the Round of 16, they need to make sure they give it all they have against Eng­land.

“We failed to score in the first half (against Ghana), so the pres­sure in­creased af­ter the break,” he said.

“Once we scored the weight was off our shoul­ders, but now we need to put our foot on the pedal against Eng­land.” – Sa­paAFP FOR­MER Eng­land man­ager, Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son, be­lieves Eng­land can beat Ger­many in their World Cup show­down in Bloemfontein to­mor­row.

The 62-year-old Swede, who is in charge of the Ivory Coast at the World Cup fi­nals, said he will find a tele­vi­sion and watch his for­mer team take on their World Cup neme­sis.

“I saw Eng­land’s match against Al­ge­ria and I thought Eng­land played well,” the Swede said of the 0-0 draw which was roundly slammed by the crit­ics.

“I think they can beat Ger- many, it will be a huge game. I am go­ing to look at that on TV.”

Eriks­son was in charge of two Eng­land World Cup cam­paigns in 2002 and 2006, but never suc­ceeded in tak­ing the side be­yond the last eight, los­ing to even­tual win­ners Brazil in 2002 and then to Por­tu­gal on penal­ties four years later.

He sub­se­quently took charge of Manch­ester City then had brief spells with Not­ting­ham For­est and the Mex­i­can team be­fore join­ing the Ivory Coast a few months be­fore the World Cup. – Sa­paAFP

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