As Euro 2016 draws ever closer, England will continue their preparation for the tournament this Saturday as they take on World Champions Germany at the Allianz Arena. With the Three Lions fourth outright favourites to win the tournament with ComeOn! at a price of 10/1, this weekend will be the perfect litmus test to see whether Roy Hodgson’s men have what it takes to cut it with the big boys this summer.
A new breed of potential heroes?
Steven Gerrard’s international football retirement after the 2014 World Cup signified the end of an era for English football, with the last remnants of the ‘old guard’ that promised so much but delivered so little at major tournaments now finally dismantled.
Could this new dawn pave the way for a young breed of England heroes to emerge? The pressure of expectation that was once reserved for the likes of Gerrard as well as clutch of his team mates whom performed so well domestically for their clubs but came up short on the international scene, will surely not befit a group of players who have shown much promise but are still clearly in their formative years.
Harry Kane, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli among others have of course impressed greatly in this year’s topsy turvy Premier League campaign but the general consensus amongst English football fans is that they shouldn’t be heralded as the ‘world beaters’ that perhaps their international predecessors were.
With the shackles off, Hodgson’s men should have no excuse but to take the game to Germany on Saturday evening with Joachim Lowe’s men themselves suffering some minor turbulence following their fourth World Cup win in Brazil almost two years ago.
The Germans were pushed to the wire in a Euro qualifying group that they arguably should have won in a canter; they finished just one point ahead of neighbours Poland and suffered shock defeats to both the Republic of Ireland and Poland themselves in the process.
Germany: Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger as well as Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil will both be unavailable to face England on Saturday.
England: Burnley keeper Tom Heaton was a late call-up to Roy Hodgson’s squad, replacing the injured England number one Joe Hart. With this in mind, it is likely Stoke City shot-stopper Jack Butland will be rewarded for his fine form at club level with a start this weekend.
Where’s the betting value?
As is always the case with international friendlies leading up to major tournaments, a certain amount of team ‘experimenting’ from both managers will be expected as either side try to find an equilibrium to fit their playing styles. With a lot of chopping and changing to squads likely to ensue, we could see a few goals hit the back of the net Saturday evening as either sides’ back fours adjusts to their new playing styles and/or team mates.
With home advantage to boot, Germany should comfortably come out on top in this one and we have opted for a 3-1 scoreline as our prediction.