‘England can win, but not on penalties’

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June 26, 2021
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    Euro 2020 on the BBC
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    England have nothing to fear from Germany in their Euro 2020 last-16 tie – unless it goes to penalties, says Germany legend Lothar Matthaus.

    Matthaus was captain of West Germany when they beat England on penalties in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, with the Three Lions again losing on spot-kicks to Germany in the last four of Euro 96.

    England host the three-time European champions again at Wembley on Tuesday.

    "England have a chance to win, but not with penalties," Matthaus said.

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    "Germany are always very good in penalties. It's a little bit of a joke between the Germans and the English.

    "If we have to go to a penalty shootout I think Germany is the favourite because then you start to think about what's happened in the last 30, 40 years, Euro 96 and other penalty shootouts.

    "This is a lot of pressure for the English players – they read the newspapers and they know the stories about penalties. England have the chance to win the game in 90 minutes or 120 minutes but when you go to a penalty shootout I think Germany is the favourite."

    Lothar Matthaus consoling Paul GascoigneLothar Matthaus consoled a tearful Paul Gascoigne after England's defeat by West Germany at Italia 90

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    As well as the two penalty shootout defeats, England also lost the last time they played Germany in the knockout stages of a major tournament, a 4-1 last-16 defeat at the 2010 World Cup.

    Matthaus, though, denies Germany have a mental grip over the Three Lions.

    "Come on, you don't have to be so negative and pessimistic. You have to be optimistic for the future," he added.

    "When you see the England team, they were in the semi-finals of the World Cup three years ago, they have fantastic players who play in the Premier League and the best clubs all around the world. They have won titles with their club teams. They have to be full of confidence and this is what they have to show.

    "I respect this team very much, I see these players all year and what they are doing for their clubs. I think they can perform – like the German team – better than they have in the first three games."

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