World Cup 2018 qualifiers: England tickets
World Cup 2018 Qualifiers: England v Lithuania
Last season Gary Cahill, captained England to a 3-2 victory against Germany. Due to Wayne Rooney’s injury, Cahill will again skipper England when the two sides meet on Wednesday night in an international friendly. Cahill has been wearing the Chelsea armband during their Premier League challenge for the Premier League title. Cahill will win his 53rd cap when England play the friendly in Dortmund. “Make no mistake about the opposition. It’s going to be fantastic for us to test ourselves against these players,” said Cahill. ‘It’s a game we should be looking forward to. The team are looking to compete against top European players. It’s going to be a special occasion.”
England manager Gareth Southgate talked about Cahill’s fitness. “Gary's in very good form, he's one of the players in the side who knows what's needed to win. He's grown in stature this season, in confidence, in the way he's using the ball, showing real composure in his play. His experience is sometimes overlooked, because he goes quietly about his job and gets on with it. It's great for him to be able to captain the side tomorrow.” Next up for England after their clash with Germany is a World Cup 2018 Qualifier versus Lithuania on Sunday, March 26 at Wembley Stadium in London, UK. Buy England v Lithuania tickets now online from the world’s top football tickets marketplace – LiveFootballTickets.com!
Fourty-six-year-old Gareth Southgate is prepared for his first game as permanent England manager and insists foundations are now in place to narrow the gap on their opponents Germany - but warned the country's "island" mentality must end. England's 3-2 win over the World Cup holders in Berlin last March with Roy Hodgson at the helm as manager was Hodgson’s "finest moment" in charge, however Hodgson resigned in June after an embarrassing last-16 defeat by minnows Iceland at Euro 2016. Southgate was hired to be Hodgson's successor after interim boss “Big Sam” Allardyce was sacked due to a scandal after an unbeaten four-game run.
"Some of those things have already started, such as the reform of academies and the improved focus on coaching, which is a process they went through," said Southgate. "We've probably got some work to do in terms of the way they have a connection between the DFB and the Bundesliga that is immensely strong. There is an opportunity for the young German players to play in that league - there is a real buy-in on that, partly because of the ownership model of the clubs. To highlight the difference, they postponed the start of the Bundesliga because they got a team in the Olympics. We can't even get a team in the Olympics. That is the collaboration they have. We are different. We have to get off the island and learn from elsewhere. We have some great strengths and if we couple those with some other traits we could be more powerful than anybody, but we have a lot of work to get to that point."
"I'm not sure we've always looked at ourselves in the mirror as closely as we should, that's what we need as a football nation," continued Southgate. "We've had success in every other sport in our country. It's probably the hardest one to succeed in, and if we do succeed it's the one that will have the most impact on our country and on the people." Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby, now at Bundesliga’s SV Hamburg after playing for Tottenham and Fulham in the EPL, agreed the FA has decided on the mission to catch up with Germany. "The youth system in Germany is the best in the world. The training, the managers, the facilities, all of that was very good when I was coming through and now it's improved even more," said Holtby. "In England, the FA is definitely improving. You can see how many young players there are in the national team, how many prospects coming through with a lot of talent. There is Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli is the future of England's midfield and Harry Kane has been top of the Premier League scoring charts. But Germany have always been ahead at being ready for tournaments, knowing when to be ready. All praise to the German FA for the very good work they have done over the years on that."
"I read a lot about people in England looking to the German youth system with big eyes, hoping to be like them - but the FA looks like it's trying to find its own way,” continued Holtby. "Their time will come. If they keep progressing this way they should have no problems." Southgate plans to learn from the Germany team. "We can learn from their mentality. When we've played German teams they just have that belief in the way they play,” said Southgate. "I'm watching Gary Cahill on the ball now and he has got that belief and confidence from the way he has been asked to play this year. You are working in a different system and opening your mind. Gary working with Antonio Conte at Chelsea reminds me of what Terry Venables gave me as a player, just stretching you into different challenges and doing things that improve you. We won't get there overnight but I think we've got players who are able to do that."
Chelsea defender Cahill will captain England against world-champions Germany in the absence of Manchester United forward and captain Wayne Rooney. "I am certainly respectful of the history of what they have done, but man for man I'm confident in the squad we've got and the players we have when I'm going out to face them," said Cahill. "That is probably the golden question isn't it? To develop, young players have to play as much football as they can at club level and play in massive, important games - play cup finals or win leagues. That will happen. The more experiences they go through - good and bad - will bring them on as players and characters. One thing for me is having the ability and the other is having the experience. This happens over time."
Manager Gareth Southgate has decided against calling up a replacement for injured defender Phil Jones. England forward Raheem Sterling missed training on Tuesday and is a doubt for England's friendly against Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday. The game against Germany is Southgate's first since being appointed on a permanent basis in November, after a four-game spell as caretaker which brought two wins and two draws. England are without regular captain Wayne Rooney against the 2014 world champions, while Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge miss out due to injury. Jermain Defoe, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford are the only strikers in Southgate's squad.
Southgate remarked about Sterling's fitness concerns. "I've got to balance what is right for Wednesday and what is right for Sunday as well, so we'll keep monitoring that,” said Southgate. "We are in a position where we haven't been able to get all the players on the field until today and then you've got to see how they come through training. It's a little bit later than we'd have liked but that's the nature of it." Cahill will miss the Lithuania match because of suspension.
Germany will say goodbye to 31-year-old Galatasaray forward Podolski, who quit international football after Euro 2016 with 48 goals from 129 caps but returns for a farewell game. Former Arsenal attacker Lukas Podolski will captain Germany and will win his 130th and final cap. Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez and Manuel Neuer are all injured. Podolski needs to score twice in his farewell game to reach 50 international goals. Podolski, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, will join Japanese side Vissel Kobe after the Turkish season ends in May.
"It's not easy to replace Podolski in the team. He is unique. He is one of the greatest players that Germany has produced," said Germany manager Joachim Low. Germany have not lost back-to-back internationals against England since losing seven in a row between 1935 and 1966. Joachim Low's side have gone 558 minutes without conceding an international goal. Antoine Griezmann was the last player to score past them - in Euro 2016. England’s Adam Lallana has scored in each of his last three internationals.
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