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World Cup 2010: We do not fear England, says Loew

Joachim Loew in training
Loew has used the World Cup to blood several youngsters

Germany boss Joachim Loew insists his young team have no fear of facing England's more experienced players in Sunday's World Cup second-round match.

Loew's squad includes a number of youngsters who featured in last year's European Under-21 Championships.

But he said: "Both teams will act with courage and while we have a young team, we will be able to hold our own.

"You can say it's youth versus international class, Germany v England, and we're looking forward to it."

Loew believes England stars like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are among the best in Europe.

But Germany have quality players of their own, with 21-year-old midfielder Mesut Ozil catching the eye in their group matches.

The English have a never-say-die attitude, the great fight and commitment that they always bring to the fore

Joachim Loew

"I think this is a type of game which both teams will approach with a great deal of respect," stated Loew.

"But while there will be respect you won't find fear in anyone's eyes, neither on the English or German side.

"No matter how important matches have been in the past, Germany have never approached these games with fear.

"There is some tension, but I would call it healthy tension. So great respect, yes, but we won't go into hiding or put our heads in the sand."

The football rivalry between the two countries has been reinforced by some memorable encounters through the years, including England's 1966 World Cup triumph to Germany's elimination of Sir Alf Ramsay's side in Mexico four years later.

Bobby Moore lifts the Jules Rimet trophy

1966 - England win World Cup

Germany also enjoyed wins against England in penalty shoot-outs in the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championships. They went on to win both tournaments.

But England have since beaten the Germans twice.

Alan Shearer's header secured a 1-0 victory against them in Euro 2000, and Michael Owen netted a hat-trick as England stormed to an amazing 5-1 win in Munich in a crucial World Cup qualifier in 2001.

Now another chapter is set to be written, and Loew expects Fabio Capello's players to show the passion and fighting spirit associated with English sides.

"There are many chapters of the book of Anglo-German encounters on the pitch," remarked Loew.

"We've had many games that were quite important. These games have always had a certain spice to them, as the Germans say, and full of sparks.

"England remain England. They can fight, they can run, they are mentally strong. They are also experienced and have class.

"The English have a never-say-die attitude, the great fight and commitment that they always bring to the fore and, despite the high tempo, they have a superb technical level as well."

Gerd Muller

West Germany end England's hopes in 1970

And Loew has dismissed suggestions that the quality of the England side has been affected by the large number of overseas players in the Premier League.

"There are many many foreign players with prominent positions in their [Premier League] teams, but even so, the England national team's quality is beyond question," he said.

"Look at [John] Terry, Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard... these players count among the best in Europe. England have always had players of international calibre.

"But I think not qualifying for Euro 2008 was the turning point, because Capello was hired. He injected a new sense of discipline, a clear path and a clear organisation to the team.

"They had some fantastic games during qualification, so even prior to the 2010 World Cup, England in my eyes were one of the favourites for the trophy."

Loew added: "I think the game against Slovenia got them back on the right track and we mustn't ever underestimate these players.

"Because those players have had so many matches down the years in the Champions League, in the Premier League, they have a wealth of experience. So that team will not be at 100, but 110%."

Gary Lineker consoles Paul Gascoigne

1990 - Paul Gascoigne's tears in Turin

Meanwhile, Germany have injury doubts over playmaker Bastian Schweinsteiger and left-back Jerome Boateng, who both picked up knocks during the 1-0 Group D victory against Ghana and are battling to be fit in time for this weekend's match.

Schweinsteiger has a hamstring problem and Boateng, who recently signed for Manchester City, is nursing a calf injury.

The absence of Schweinsteiger would be a particularly big blow for the Germans, as he has been a key player for them since skipper Michael Ballack was ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Loew admitted: "There is simply no way I can say at this stage whether one, or both for that matter, will be on the pitch on Sunday.

"We will take it day by day. Let's wait and see what happens. We need players who are 100% fit and not 90%. We can say there is a major question mark over both players."

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