Lahm predicts an England Germany classic

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Germany captain Philipp Lahm described his side's forthcoming World Cup last 16 encounter with England as a "classic".

A second-half goal from Mesut Ozil helped Germany beat Ghana 1-0 at Soccer City last night which took them to the top of Group D, meaning a meeting with England in the first knockout round.

The last World Cup finals meeting between the teams came in 1990, when West Germany beat England on penalties in the semi-finals. Prior to that, they also met in the 1982 second group stage, the 1970 quarter-finals and the final in 1966 at Wembley.

Lahm was keenly aware of the history of the fixture and said: "The duel against England is of course a classic. The anticipation ahead of it is huge.

"We are looking ahead with confidence. But we know that we have to do some things better."

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff started the mind games early by insisting that England, in spite of their nervy and unimpressive start to the tournament, will be favourites for the game in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon.

"Perhaps it is an advantage not to be the absolute favourite against England," said Bierhoff.

Germany boss Joachim Low still believes Wayne Rooney is England's main danger man, and fears he could "explode" into life at any point after a disappointing start to his World Cup campaign.

He said: "Rooney may not have been a big gun so far but he is always ready to explode, he is difficult to mark and control so our defence will need to watch that he doesn't score."