I think there is one aspect of Sunday's game which will have a critical affect on the outcome. And its all about fitness. Here are the relevant facts:-
- The ground is at Bloemfontein. This is 4,600 ft above sea level;
- Bloemfontein average day-time temperature is 17degC; the forecast for Sunday is a sunny 21degC;
- the average age of Germany's national team is 25 years with 12 players under the age of 25; the average age of England's national team is 28 with 5 players in the squad under 25.
Hence, whatever happens in the rest of the game, I envisage that the last quarter will belong to Germany purely because they will have a massive fitness advantage over England.
Not wishing to sound all doom-and-gloom, I believe England can beat Germany and the good news is that Germany knows this. Here's my "dream" scenario:-
- England go all out for a first half lead; ideally 2-0;
- Rooney is allowed off his leash; even if he is red-carded hopefully it will be after a goal and I'd rather see a Rooney who tears Germany apart for 30 minutes compared with his previous performances;
- England under siege in the last quarter of the game; substitutes used MUST be able to either win and/or hold the ball in this last stage of the game
- Final score 2-1 or 1-0