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Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

Can England erase 20 years of hurt by beating Germany this Sunday?

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As I predicted (and almost feared), Germany topped Group D with their win over Ghana last night, and now will face England in the 3pm kickoff on Sunday.

Facing the Germans is something that stirs this country, and the red tops have already gone into full anti-German mode, talking off the war and faux German headlines being used to rouse a nation to get behind England.

It is this German team which stands between England and any potential progression in this tournament, in fact, England have only been further than the final 16 twice since they lost to West Germany in the semi finals 20 years ago.

During the last World Cup, Englands hopes were dashed again, this time after many perceived “the winker” Christiano Ronaldo as having got Wayne Rooney sent off in a tournament which saw Michael Owen limp off with an injury which also took away Englands hopes of winning a tournament. Two successive quarter final losses for England look good on paper, but we need to push for semi final placings regularly if we are to be seen as one of the best squads in the World. A loss in the final 16 on Sunday would be heartbreaking for fans and team alike.

The last time we fell out of the World Cup at the final 16 stage was back in France in 1998, losing out to the Argentinians on penalties. Almost weirdly, if we do manage to pass Germany on Sunday, it looks likely that we will face Argentina in the next round, with every match up being a fierce test, especially against a potential World Cup winning team.

Since watching “One night in Turin”, I’ve recognised some paralells with Englands current World Cup campaign. The mediocre start to the tournament and two draws in the opening two matches is something thats been repeated in 2010. The loss of the captain through injury. Both England sides managed to win their final matches, and both England squads had to face Germany, albeit this England squad is facing Germany at a much earlier stage.

After a fantastic 4-0 start for Germany, England will surely be the underdogs this Sunday. The team that have underachieved and struggled to get going this tournament. The team that has suffered from supposed dressing room troubles, players publically stating things only for team mates to disagree. It’s not a shambles on the scale of France, but it hasn’t done our tournament any good.

In contrast, the opening match for Germany seemed to be a traditional display of fantastic Germany efficiency, and many went into overdrive talking of Germany as potential winners for the tournament. Since then however they’ve lost one match in the group stages, and managed to win the group by beating Ghana 1-0. Although Germany look to be playing better, quite remarkably England go into the final 16 having not lost a game on South African soil, which has to be looked upon as an achievement in itself.

It won’t be easy, and if we did manage to battle past the Germans to the quarter finals, we only face increasingly hard opposition in every match. We are 270 minutes away from the World Cup final, is the dream really that impossible? Can England make up for 20 years of hurt?

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Written by Nicole Carroll

June 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

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