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Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 13:28 UK

World Cup 2010: Germany's Phillipp Lahm expects classic

Arne Friedrich

Highlights - Germany 1-0 Ghana

By Jonathan Stevenson
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

Germany captain Philipp Lahm says he is expecting a World Cup "classic" when his side comes face-to-face with England in the last 16 on Sunday.

The two countries will meet in Bloemfontein (kick-off at 1500 BST) after England beat Slovenia 1-0 to finish second in Group C and Germany won 1-0 against Ghana to top Group D.

Lahm, who took over the captaincy when Michael Ballack was ruled out of the tournament by injury, said: "The battle with England is obviously a classic and the anticipation is enormous.

"There is a big history between us and they are always huge games, always interesting."

Germany, previously West Germany, won their World Cup group for the 11th time and have not failed to reach the quarter-final stage since 1938, but Lahm believes England - despite a difficult start to their campaign - will provide tough opposition.

Maybe it will go down to penalties and if it does we will be prepared for it - we have practised a little, not every player, but some of them

Germany skipper Phillip Lahm

"They have world-class players, a lot of them" added the 26-year-old. "They all play in the Premier League at a very high level week-in, week-out and we know they are a very good team.

"Wayne Rooney is one player we worry about, he's a good striker and scored many goals last season, but Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner - they are all top quality footballers.

"I don't think England have played badly so far, you can see from their games they are strong and difficult to score against. We know it is going to be very hard to beat them."

The last World Cup meeting took place in 1990 when West Germany beat England on penalties in the semi-final in Turin, while Germany also beat England in a semi-final shoot-out in Euro 1996 at Wembley.

Lahm believes Germany's mental strength may give them the upper hand if Sunday's showdown at the Free State Stadium goes down to the lottery of penalties.

"We are a young team, but I think we do have mental strength," said Lahm. "Most of the players played in the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 too, so though we are young we are mentally very good.

"As for penalties, we will see. Maybe it will go down to that and if it does we will be prepared for it. We have practised a little - not every player, but some of them.

"We are ready to fight and on Sunday we will see who will make it to the next round. We are looking forward confidently, but we know we must do certain things better."

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see also
Beckenbauer sorry for England dig
25 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England spirit delights Capello
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Coach Loew wary of England test
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Upson shrugs off Beckenbauer barb
15 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Beckenbauer attacks England style
15 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Highlights - Slovenia 0-1 England
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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