The fans at Estadio Morelos in Morelia for Monday’s FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 quarter-final will witness the latest instalment in one of world football’s most enduing rivalries, the all-European clash between Germany and England. Even if these are the nations’ youngest representative teams, there is always an edge to any meeting between two of the world’s great footballing nations.
Based on their commanding form at the tournament so far, with four straight wins, 15 goals scored and just one conceded, the Germans start the match as favourites. Steffen Freund’s team are clearly comfortable under pressure, as shown by a fully convincing 4-0 success against USA in the last round, but the last-eight clash is still a tough call, given the special rivalry between the nations, the undoubted prestige at stake, and the increased weight of expectation at this stage.
By contrast, England have ridden a roller-coaster at the tournament so far, winning their group in relative comfort with two wins and a draw, but only overcoming round of 16 foes Argentina in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Germany and England previously met at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2007 in Korea, also in the quarter-finals. The game was goalless at half-time, but the Germans turned up the heat in the second half and ran out 4-1 winners. Then as now, the junior Three Lions were managed by John Peacock.
3 – Germany have not conceded in their last three matches, a new record for the country’s juniors at the U-17 finals. Coach Freund’s youngsters have only let in one goal in total, in their opening 6-1 romp against Ecuador. They subsequently went on to beat Burkina Faso 4-0, Panama 2-0 and USA 4-0.
"We face England now. It's special, because it’s a meeting between two of the great footballing nations. I’m delighted on a personal level too, because I spent five years as a player in England. I know the England team very well. We played them at the Algarve Cup and won 3-1. I have a lot of information about them and know the manager very well," Germany coach Steffen Freund.
"We always seem to meet Germany in these kinds of competitions, and we lost to them in 2007, so I hope this time it can be different. England-Germany games are always very close and tight games. We will be ready as these games are always classics," England manager John Peacock.