Thomas Muller is intrigued to be involved in the Euro 2020 Round of 16 clash between Germany and England, predicting a narrow scoreline when the two old rivals meet.
Joachim Low’s side head to London in the coming days for a mouth-watering last-16 tie in front of more than 40,000 people at Wembley Stadium. England are fourth in the world rankings after an impressive few years under Gareth Southgate, but they have yet to wholly convince despite topping Group D unbeaten.
Germany have also come in for some flak and ended the so-called group of death with a 2-2 home draw against Hungary. But Muller believes both sides head into the match with similar levels of confidence.
“We are looking forward to the game and to our opponents,” the 2014 World Cup winner said.
“England are always ambitious. But we both played well in our respective groups and have also had to deal with some criticism.
“England drew 0-0 with Scotland while we had hoped to take more than just a 2-2 draw against Hungary.
“This is a knock-out game. Both teams have individual players that can make a difference.
“I think that both teams have enough confidence to say: ‘It is our turn today – we will win and reach the next round.’ That’s what makes this so interesting.”
Muller, who downplayed concerns over a knee issue, believes staying firm at the back will be key to German success under the arch.
“It will be important for us to keep a clean sheet against England – something we didn’t manage in the group stage,” the Bayern Munich forward said.
“We will need to be alert when they switch over to attack and try to keep their offence at bay.
“Every one of us will need to have the mindset that it’s possible to narrowly win this game.
“We need to be creative in attack, while also not losing our shape. Having a healthy balance between the two is important in games like this.”
Muller responds to Kane struggles
Extending England captain Harry Kane’s scoreless run would boost their chances of progressing to the quarter-final. But Muller knows the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner is ready to pounce.
“Big strikers are the best at being patient,” he added. “They need to sit and wait for their chances to come.
“A striker always has the least touches during a game and afterwards, if things go well, they are the ones who feature the most prominently in the media.
“I don’t know if the reason for his lack of chances so far is because he and his team-mates just haven’t clicked yet.
“But it wouldn’t be an issue for us if Harry Kane doesn’t manage to score on us.”