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England will play Germany at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Wednesday 19 November 2008.
England were last in Berlin to play West Germany for their 1972 European Championship Quarter Final second-leg which ended in a goalless draw. The last time England faced Germany on their home soil was for a World Cup Qualifier at Munich in 2001. This resulted in the famous 5-1 victory and a Michael Owen hat-trick.
And the last time these two sides came together was at Wembley last year, 22nd August 2007. This was McClaren’s time, the time when England were at a make or break point for their Euro 2008 qualification campaign. It seems a long time ago in today’s 24-7-365 in-your-face football news coverage, but there was real hope before this game that the players at McClaren’s disposal could form a unit strong enough to defeat an injury-ridden German side and then use the game as a catalyst to go on and win in Russia.
Here’s what I wrote in the aftermath of that game:
If England continue their progress at this rate, we will lose in Russia and crash out of the Euro 2008 qualifiers (as opposed to going out in the quarter-finals of the actual event).
Of course, England did crash out of qualifying (losing at home to Croatia 2-3, a cruel end) and Germany went on to play in the European Championships final, on the back of a strong semi-final appearance at home in the 2006 World Cup.
On paper, this is more England v France earlier this year than England v Croatia, but more than the result what will matter is who Capello tests in this game (expect a few fringe names to get playing time). I don’t expect England to win this and I don’t think any England fans should go into this game with any expectations – as an away friendly against one of the best teams in Europe, England would do well to secure a draw.
Germany of course will be more focused on who Loew picks in his starting eleven as opposed to whether they beat England or not – squad selection and player power have dominated the news over the last month or so for Germany.
Goalkeepers: Scott Carson (West Brom), Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth)
Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Curtis Davies (Aston Villa), Glenn Johnson (Portsmouth), John Terry (Chelsea), Jolean Lescott (Everton), Michael Mancienne (Chelsea, on loan at Wolves), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Mathew Upson (West Ham)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Forwards: Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Darren Bent (Tottenham), Peter Crouch (Portsmouth), Jermaine Defoe (Portsmouth), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).