Mission possible – six coaches show how England can win

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The Independent Online

Christian Damiano: Former French coach

The frustrating thing about the Germans is that they remain as difficult to beat as ever. Psychologically and physically, they are very strong. England, though, do have a chance, if only because they play in a different way these days. While Germany will start with five at the back and put two big guys up front, England will have a back four and could opt for a Michael Owen-Robbie Fowler partnership. The midfield will be key, but I think England can exploit Germany's lack of genuine pace wide. If David Beckham and whoever plays on the left take on their opposite numbers and get around the back of the German defence, England could cause serious problems.

Mick McCarthy: Republic of Ireland manager

I hate to sound dismissive, but beating the Germans really isn't rocket science. Forget systems and tactics, it's all about how things work out on the day. In order to win you need a number of key ingredients: good players, which England have got; a good team spirit, which England now have; calmness and the ability to cope with the big occasions, which most of the players have; and most of all, a good performance on the night, both individually and collectively. Put all that together and there is no reason why England can't win. There is, of course, one other important factor: luck. You can plot and plan all you like, without a bit of fortune, you will not get the result.

Howard Wilkinson: FA technical director

German football has changed dramatically since their exit from the European Championship. They have gone through a radical overhaul of the way they play and are much more adaptable. Add to that the fact that the match is being played at the German fortress in Munich, and it is easy to see why the Germans feel so confident. But England, too, have made changes and we have players who can adjust to the varying demands of a match while it is in progress. Emile Heskey could be vital, especially if he can unsettle the defence early on. We need to use his pace and strength, perhaps on the left, to get at the German defence. The key, though, will be to remain patient.

Andy Gray: Former Aston Villa coach

The Germans are not as strong as of old, and England should not read too much into their 5-2 victory in Hungary. Having said that, the Germans haven't lost in Munich since 1973 and only need a draw. But England are capable of causing an upset, particularly as Sven Goran Eriksson will be playing his strongest team. David Seaman, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Nick Barmby, Emile Heskey and a fit Steven Gerrard will make a big difference. The key, though, will be David Beckham because a set-piece will probably settle it. When England won the group match at Euro 2000, the goal came from a free-kick and I suspect England will look to defend well and hope to nick a goal.

Tony Woodcock: Former Cologne coach

England are in a difficult position because they have to marry composure with aggression. But they are full of experienced individuals and are intelligent enough to scrape the victory. The way to win in the Olympic stadium is to sit tight, soak up the early pressure and look to hit the Germans on the break. England should not sit too deep – that would be suicidal – but the important thing is to take your time. There is no point going at the Germans from the off, because they have big, strong centre-backs, who can cope with an aerial bombardment. The key is for England to keep their shape and attack down the flanks. That is the Germans' only potential weakness.

Ottmar Hitzfeld: Bayern Munich coach

England are better organised and are playing with more zest these days. They look more compact defensively and are more patient. Those qualities will be important. Rudi Völler has fashioned a more exciting team and, being on home ground, I expect Germany to get at England early on. They have no choice – the crowd are very demanding in Munich. So England will have to be tight at the back and compact in midfield. England have to win the midfield battle and take whatever chances come their way. They must break forward whenever possible but they must also be vigilant not to leave any gaps at the back. It will be close.

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