HERZOGENAURACH: Germany forward Thomas Mueller insists his knee injury will not stop him facing England in Tuesday's blockbuster Euro 2020 last 16 clash at Wembley. "If I it was a problem, I wouldn't have trained today," Mueller said yesterday at Germany's Euro 2020 base camp in Bavaria. "The capsular injury does not hold me back and I am experienced enough to deal with it. I'm convinced it won't be a problem for Tuesday."
Mueller is expected to start against England having been left out of the line-up for Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Hungary, in which he came on as a second-half replacement. The 31-year-old Mueller and Germany captain Manuel Neuer, 35, are the only survivors from the team which beat England 4-1 in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup. Sunday marks exactly 11 years since that match.
"We won against England in 2010 - that has nothing to do with Tuesday, but it might give some of you a good feeling," he told reporters. "We are looking forward to playing a big name in England. Both teams had convincing performances in the group stages, but also had games where they were criticized. We were hoping to play better against Hungary, but now it's a knockout game." Yesterday was the 25-year anniversary of Germany's Euro 96 semi-final win over England at Wembley where current Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate missed the crucial penalty in the shoot-out.
Keep Kane quiet
"It was the first tournament that I was really aware of," said Bayern Munich star Mueller, who was six years old at the time. "But even then it was a close result. Personally, I have a good experience of playing at Wembley Stadium having won the Champions League final there in 2013."
This is Mueller's third European Championship, yet he is still waiting for his first goal at the tournament. "It would be nice to score on Tuesday, but the most important thing for me is that we go through," he said. Like Mueller, England striker Harry Kane has yet to open his goal account at the finals and the Germans aim to keep the opposing captain quiet at Wembley.
"Great strikers are the best at being patient," said Mueller, who has scored 39 goals in 105 internationals since his Germany debut in 2010. "A striker is always waiting for his chances. He usually has the least contact with the ball, but the biggest picture in the newspaper after the game. I don't know why he hasn't got into the final positions that he usually gets into. For us, it would be no problem at all if the discussion (about Kane's form) lasts until Wednesday and we don't concede a goal."
The Germans have won the last four meetings between the countries in the knockout stages of major tournaments. Yet Germany winger Serge Gnabry talked up England's chances. "England have great players in their ranks," said the Bayern Munich forward who began his career with Arsenal. "We have a lot of respect, no matter what the media reports are." "We want to play and beat them with a performance like the one we had against Portugal," referring to Germany's 4-2 win over the holders in the group stage. - AFP