Two World Wars and one World Cup
England will play Germany at a World Cup for the first time since that unforgettable semi-final performance at Italia '90.
It's been 20 years since millions watched Paul Gascoigne's tears roll down his face. Now it's time to make the Germans cry.
Since England beat Slovenia, the football fever around the country has stepped up a level. Car after car has a flag hanging out of its windows, each shop has flags in the windows, more people are wearing England tops, even babies in their prams.
The old foes will play each other again in Bloemfontein on Sunday, as both teams won their last games of the group stages.
England vs. Germany is one of the biggest and best rivalries in football.
The 1966 World Cup final was the first encounter at a high level for these teams. As every English person knows, the Three Lions were victorious and lifted the trophy for the first time and only time—so far.
The 4-2 win is still remembered more than 40 years later, and the men that played are now national heroes.
Since then, there have been many more battles, with Germany coming out on top most times.
Four years later, England were trying to defend their title in the Mexico 1970 World Cup. In the quarter-finals, England went up 2-0, only to be pulled back to 2-2. Then the hearts of the English sunk, as Gerd Müller scored another goal in extra time to win 3-2.
Italia 1990 is one tournament that will always be remembered by the people who watched it. This is the World Cup where Gascoigne showed what he could do.
Meeting the Germans in the semi-finals is the closest England has been to winning the Cup since 1966. The game stayed heavily in the English consciousness, not simply for the football and the dramatic manner of the defeat, but also for the reaction "Gazza," when he received a yellow card.
2001 brought England best result since their World Cup Final win. It was an away qualification game in Berlin for the 2002 World Cup.
Even though there were low expectation of the Three Lions, they managed to pull off a 5-1 win—and even Hesky scored.
England and Germany have met each other 27 times, with England winning 12 times and Germany 10 times.
How they got to the last 16
Germany came top in their group, which meant they would play the runners up of Group C. If it wasn't for a last minute goal by the USA in the other Group C game, England would have missed the Germans and played against Ghana instead.
But due to our previous performances, our final position in the group was not fully in our control.
For the first time in this World Cup, England sent their actual national team, rather than a pub team. Their performance hit another level against Slovenia. However, due to the rubbish performances before, this rise means they are now playing how they should.
England drew 1-1 to the USA in the opening game. It could have been much better for the Three Lions if the keeper, Rob Green, didn't make a mistake and fumble the ball over the line.
Their second game against Algeria surprised the England fans, as they played so badly. Hardly any proper shot at goal ended in a goalless draw.
England then got back to normal ways as they performed much better, creating more chances and winning—even though it was only 1-0.
Germany have had a played slightly better in their group, but it was still rocky at times.
They won their first game convincingly 4-0 against Australia, but then surprisingly lost to fellow Europeans, Serbia.
This loss meant that the positioning in the group would be decided on the last day. Germany would have to win to go top, and that's just what they did, to set up a last 16 match with England.
England vs. Germany: Preview
England will have to raise their game if they want to compete with the Germans.
Germany are on form at the moment, and will be tough to crack, but if England can do what they did in qualification, then it will be a very good game.
England dominated the game against Slovenia, but wasted chance after chance. Fabio Capello must discover the clinical edge and help Wayne Rooney rediscover his lethal scoring touch.
England needs Rooney to get back to his best, and quickly, for this game. England will have far fewer chances against Germany than they did against any team in the group stage, and must take every chance that they get.
Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Jermain Defoe, and Rooney have a stage to show off their talent to the world. They cant waste this opportunity, or they will be sent home.
Capello is the boss of the training camp and has been treating the team like a dictator. He was telling players to relax, what food they can't eat, and who they can't see. But the night before the Slovenia game they were allowed to let their hair down.
"I changed something. Used my imagination. It was free South African beer," Capello said.
This rather stiff surrender to English sensibilities is unlikely to carry on with karaoke nights or all night benders, but the little escape from the football did the team well as they won.
Each of England's games have had massive support. In their last group game, there was more than 38,000 England fans cheering on the team. However, some fans were slightly annoyed from their previous games with one banner saying, "6,000 miles for what!!"
"Today I saw the spirit we lost in the games we played before," Capello said. "The performance of the team was really, really good. I'm sure we'll play with more confidence because we re-found the spirit."
No one can deny that the Three Lions didnt't play with pride, spirit, and determination. Just look at John Terry trying to block a shot with his head—a foot off the ground.
Germany have not got as many fans in South Africa but they do have thousands of fans that will show their support.
They are the favourites going into the game because of their last few games. However, England have been slow to start in many tournaments, like Italia '90, and have still gone far.
The German side is quite youthful. This could be good for them, but it could also be their downfall. They may be fast and skillful, but they may fall when it comes to making the big decisions, or even when it goes to penalties.
David James has been in great form in the last two games, so he is the most likely to be in between the posts.
Joe Cole should be playing, but Capello has hardly played him, so it is difficult to know whether he will be on the pitch or on the bench.
Emile Heskey didn't play in the last game, which is the only one we have won, so I would think (and hope) he will not start in this one either.
Cacau and Miroslav Klose have been two of the stars of the German team for me. They always show skill and composure when on the ball. They can create chances out of nothing and could be the players that knock England out of the tournament.
However, it looks like their last group match has taken its toll on a number of the players. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, and Jerome Boateng all picked up knocks and are meeting with their coach about their fitness.
This will be a tough game for both teams, but especially for England.
Being English, I am hoping and believing that England can overcome their old foe and be victorious.
Final Score: 2-1, with England through to the quarterfinals.
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