BBC News Online BBC World Service BBC Homepage
BBC Homepage feedback | low graphics version
BBC Sport - Euro 2000
 You are in:  Euro2000
Front Page 
Results/Fixtures 
Teams 
Fans Guide 
Sportstalk 
AudioVideo 
The BBC Team 
Photo Gallery 

Friday, 16 June, 2000, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Strategies for success
Beckham and Ziege in club colours
Ziege and Beckham: Key all-Premiership battle
Every successful strategist will tell you that winning any contest is all about dominating key battles and then watching it all come together.

So who will dominate in the various areas of the Charleroi pitch on Saturday night?

The German team has already been named but Kevin Keegan is keeping the English line up closer to his chest.

That could mean a tactical surprise such as a switch to 3-5-2 or even the use of a lone striker to deny Germany's marking system at the back.

But assuming Keegan decides on a more solid 4-4-2 with Dennis Wise in for Steve McManaman, here is where it could be won and lost.

Can the Germans sweep up against Shearer, Owen and Scholes?

A key question for the match is how Germany's sweeper system - and its ageing fulcrum - tackle England's attacking strategy.
Markus Babbel
Babbel: Liverpool-bound defender may be marking future clubmate Owen

At 39, Lothar Matthaus is clearly not the player he once was, and how England exploit this perceived weakness will be crucial.

German defenders Markus Babbel and Jens Nowotny will mark the English strikers, presumably Alan Shearer and Michael Owen.

If this denies them space then England's main weapon will surely be Paul Scholes breaking from midfield.

German midfield enforcer Jens Jeremies will have a crucial role tracking Scholes' runs if Matthaus is not be ruthlessly exposed.

And if Owen can break free of his marker then one thing is for sure: Matthaus will never catch him.
Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes will seek space in the German defence

To take the alternative view, if Matthaus' radar and anticipatory powers are at their best then he will play a crucial role in building Germany's attacks.

The veteran can still pass a ball sweetly and unless he is denied space he could punish Kevin Keegan's team.

The last line of defence might be the best part of Germany's rearguard - and English fans will fear that another fine performance against their old enemy could end in frustration due to goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

Ziege v Beckham: A crucial head-to-head

England's right side predictably proved by far their most productive area against Portugal while Christian Ziege was one of Germany's best players against Romania.

The left wing-back has clashed with David Beckham before in the Premiership, notably when Ziege was sent off at Old Trafford last season.

The German is the better defender but, unlike his German opponent, the Manchester United star will have the insurance of a full-back, Gary Neville, behind him.

Weight of numbers in the middle

One of the main reasons England lost to Portugal was the old problem of being overrun in midfield, where Paul Ince was horribly exposed.

Germany's 3-5-2 system raises the worrying prospect of it happening again, although a remodelled 4-4-2 could see Wise tucking in alongside Ince rather than out on the left.
Paul Ince
Paul Ince will hope for more support in this game

Scholes will have licence to go forward as will Mehmet Scholl in the German midfield.

Ince will be expected to track back with Scholl, while the former Liverpool midfielder will also relish lining up against the man who effectively replaced him at Anfield, Dietmar Hamann.

But Monday night proved that Ince cannot do it all, and with the talented and solid Jens Jeremies also engineering Germany's play, Wise will have to be on his best form - and behaviour.

England: Left with a problem

Assuming Wise is kept busy in a more central role, England's left-back will have to cope with Germany's answer to Beckham, Sebastian Deisler.
Sebastian Deisler
Deisler: Youngster and future hope of German football

Phil Neville will presumably occupy this slot - unless Gareth Barry is handed a surprise first start..

Whoever is selected will probably have a full-time job stopping Deisler producing the sort of crosses Rui Costa and Luis Figo were able to supply on Monday.

Replacing Bierhoff and Adams

Injuries to German striker Oliver Bierhoff and England defender Tony Adams have left this area with a reshuffled look.

Unlike Germany's three-man central defence, England's pair will rely more heavily on the Neville brothers covering behind them - a task which appeared beyond right-back Gary on Monday night.
Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell: Will have work cut out with Jancker and Kirsten

The German threat comes from a man six years older than the retiring Shearer at the other end, and a giant bruiser alongside.

Ulf Kirsten is so old he played for East Germany before 1990, but has been a prolific marksman in the Bundesliga.

Carsten Jancker is the man who replaces Bierhoff and is an even bigger threat in the air but not as reliable a goalscorer.

Against them are Sol Campbell, whose own giant frame will be tested by Jancker in a thunderous confrontation.

And while there is unlikely to be disciplined man-to-man marking, many will expect the mobile Keown to have the job of looking after the wily veteran Kirsten.
Carsten Jancker
Big man Carsten Jancker

But more worrying for England is the form of the man behind the central pair.

Germany will want Ziege and Deisler to get into crossing positions and test the judgment of David Seaman, which has looked increasingly suspect in recent months.

Search BBC Euro 2000

 

See also:

12 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Hansen calls for Keown
15 Jun 00 | England
Seconds out for German clash
^^ Back to top
Front Page | Results/Fixtures | Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Knockout | Teams | Sportstalk | Fans' Guide | AudioVideo | Photo Gallery