Captain Steven Gerrard believes that England have improved since their 4-1 humbling at the hands of Germany at the 2010 World Cup, despite their setback in losing 2-0 to Chile on Friday. The two old rivals will meet for the first time since that last-16 match in South Africa in Tuesday’s friendly at Wembley.
After securing qualification last month with two impressive wins over Montenegro and Poland, an experimental side were well beaten by Chile. But Gerrard remains confident about the team’s credentials.
"I do feel we are a lot stronger,” he said, according to The Guardian. “There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad at the moment. We are all moving forward and improving all the time. I look back to the Chile result last Friday and I came away from that game feeling different from a lot of people: I'm really confident that, if we were to meet Chile further on into a World Cup competition, we would have the players at full strength to go and beat them.”
Gerrard sat out the defeat to Chile, but will return to the side for the visit of Germany, when he will win his 108th cap and equal the mark of World-Cup winning captain Bobby Moore. Joe Hart, Ashley Cole, Andros Townsend and Daniel Sturridge will also come back into the side.
Germany have taken the opposite approach, having fielded a strong lineup in the draw in Italy last week. Manager Joachim Low has since allowed Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Mesut Ozil to depart back to their clubs, despite Sami Khedira joining the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ilkay Gundogan on the injury list. Low, though, has denied that he is disrespecting England with his team selection and sees it an ideal examination of some of his fringe players.
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"What better test for these upcoming players than to go out in front of that partisan 80,000 crowd cheering their own team on,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I need to experiment a bit and send a few players home who are already established.
"It is a deliberate acid test, not a "B team, and this is certainly no lack of respect to our hosts.”
One of those under the microscope will be Roman Weidenfeller. The Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper will be making his debut for his country, at the age of 33. One of the Bender twins, Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars or Dortmund’s Sven, is likely to take the place of Khedira, who faces an uphill task to make the World Cup after tearing his cruciate ligament.
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick off at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 1, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer2Go.