Rooney vs Mertesacker
Wayne Rooney is not in the best of form but after the Slovenia victory most analysts agree a big performance is just around the corner. Should that corner be turned during the Germany clash on Sunday it will be Per Mertesacker who is the victim. Victim is the appropriate word because an on song Rooney will simply be too much for Mertesacker to handle on his own. Germany’s success at stifling Rooney will depend as much on Rooney’s own performance as much as it does on Lahm, Freidrich and Badstuber offering support in quelling his threat. Rooney will be a danger in the air but his main threat will be on the ground where his pace will be a problem for both German centre backs.
Milner vs Lahm
Phillip Lahm has the edge in terms of experience and pace. In fact the only area we can be sure that James Milner is able to compete is in terms of fitness. Lahm is known for making marauding runs down the left flank for the duration of the entire match. James Milner is more than capable of matching him. Should Lahm manage to keep Milner on the defensive, when England will be hoping that it will be Milner on the offensive with Lahm on the defensive, then Germany will have the control on their left side of the pitch.
Gerrard vs Badstuber
In the space of a year Badstuber has transformed himself from a potentially average full back into one of the most promising full backs Germany has produced in the last decade. A wonderful season with Bayern Munich followed by a decent start to his international career and Badstuber is now considered a certain part of Germany’s future, regardless of what should now happen during the tournament. Steven Gerrard, on the other hand, is a seasoned international with experience for every type of situation. Gerrard will try to move inside from his starting inside left position but Badstuber will need to stay disciplined and trust the capabilities of his neighbouring centre back otherwise Ashley Cole will overlap and find a way into the attacking third.
Barry vs Ozil
Ozil is one of the stars of the tournament so far and his ability, nevermind his recent potency, shooting from long distance is a threat England need to be aware about. Gareth Barry will likely be asked to monitor Ozil’s forward runs and Barry will probably not shy away from making a crunching tackle or two should he feel that Ozil is getting the better of him. Germany will be looking to Ozil for a piece of magic and some creative flair. England will be looking to Gareth Barry to cancel this danger.
Upson vs Muller
Matthew Upson excelled in the previous England match against Slovenia but it is well known that his strengths are when he is facing the play and moving towards the action. Thomas Muller will not play this way against Upson. Rather, Muller will look to make runs beyond Upson, perhaps even before he is in contact with the ball, in order to turn Upson and engage him in a sprint. Muller will beat Upson in a sprint and David James will have to be quick off his line to offer support as an alternative sweeper. Upson will try to intercept the ball, or interrupt the play, before Muller has had the opportunity to run onto the ball. An early caution for Upson might put him in a precarious position for the rest of the match.