England versus Germany. No matter at what level or in what sporting discipline these two countries meet, it is always a keenly and closely contested occasion. On Sunday evening in Goyang City, the Three Lions, the European Zone runners-up, return to the scene of their 2-1 triumph over Brazil, while Germany, the fifth place finishers at the UEFA U-17 Championship will hope that the good form that they have displayed in their last match against the USA can continue.
A win would set up a meeting Argentina or Nigeria in the Suwon semi-final and keep hopes of lifting the FIFA U-17 World Cup very much alive. A defeat would see the losers on the next available flight home. Their positions in European qualification aside, there is little to separate the teams on paper. Both drew their opening matches and have gone on to record three successive victories to book a place in the quarter-finals. Indeed, even the goal difference between the two sides is the same. There is a lot of pride and prestige at stake on Sunday.
Both sides are expected to be at full strength for this match.
At youth level, the sides have met ten times in European competition, with England as yet unbeaten against their arch-rivals. England clinched victory in the two-legged Final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship 1982. The sides have played out another six qualifying matches at youth level, with England claiming three wins and the remaining three matches ending in draws. The sides have also played twice at U-19 level, resulting in an England win and a draw respectively, and once at U-17 level, when England won on penalties.
Germany have played only two matches against European opposition at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, losing on each occasion. Both games were played against Spain, who won 3-1 in 1991 and 2-1 in 1997.
"I think it will be a great game. England-Germany games are always a bit special. We'll need to improve on our showing against Syria, but we will improve and I've no doubt about that. It's a really exciting game and we're all looking forward to it," John Peacock, England coach.
"We're working intensively on preparing to meet our next opponents The important thing now is for us to keep our feet on the ground and regenerate as fast as possible, as we'll need to be perfectly prepared for the quarter-final against England," Heiko Herrlich, Germany coach.