Podolski wary of Three Lions
Saturday, 26 June, 2010
Lukas Podolski believes Germany will face an improved England.
Germany frontman Lukas Podolski is expecting to face a much-improved England side when the two old enemies meet in Sunday’s eagerly awaited World Cup last 16 clash.
Fabio Capello’s Three Lions didn’t hit the heights in draws against the USA and Algeria before putting in a much-improved showing to beat Slovenia 1-0 and qualify for the knockout stages.
Germany, on the other hand, were hugely impressive in defeating Australia 4-0, although that was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Serbia and victory over Ghana by the same scoreline.
But Podolski is wary of the threat England will pose in Bloemfontein.
“It would be a terrible mistake to underestimate them just because they had a few problems in their group,” Podolski told FIFA.com.
“They may well raise their game for the knockout matches. They may well be saying: ‘Our tournament starts for real now’. So we need to be very cautious.
“We’ll focus completely on them as we prepare over the next few days. We have no need to be in awe, and we certainly have no reason to fear them. We respect them of course, but we’re not afraid.
“Obviously you’ve got to be wary of Wayne Rooney up front, and they have Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield. These are good players, and we’ll need to be on our guard.”
And Podolski believes this Germany team – their youngest at a World Cup for 76 years – are well set to be contenders at major tournaments for years to come.
He added: “Overall, we’ve played some very good football. There was more pressure against Ghana, and we didn’t look as convincing in attack as we did against Australia or in the second half against Serbia.
“But we’ve definitely come on as a team, and we have a number of very good young players, which has to be a good thing.
"What’s happened to Italy and France shows us that age and experience are no guarantee of success. Looking ahead to future tournaments, I reckon we’ll have a very strong team indeed.”