Lehmann backs Germany to finish the task

Jens Lehmann yesterday mocked England's World Cup hopes by claiming Sven Goran Eriksson's team did not know how to "get the job done" in major tournaments. The Arsenal goalkeeper suggested last week that England fans admire the Germans for their "ability to perform when it counts most".

Two days before Germany's opening match against Costa Rica in Munich tomorrow - and with a possible second-round meeting with England looming - the outspoken Lehmann put the boot into Eriksson's team.

He said: "The English know that we [Germany] have always been more successful than them during tournaments. That is instilled in the back of their minds."

The 36-year-old, embarking on his first World Cup as Germany's first-choice goalkeeper, after edging out Oliver Kahn, described Eriksson's team as "actually very good and probably the best in years".

But he still could not resist questioning their ability to reach the final. Lehmann continued: "They know how to perform and how to play quick and efficient football. What they don't know is how to go through a whole tournament because they have had a lot of disappointment in recent tournaments.

"We are ahead of them with our World Cup experience because we know how to do the job better than England. That is something they don't have."

Lehmann believes England's chances could hinge on the fitness of strikers Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, both of whom have doubts hanging over them.

"The English have a very good team this year," he said. "But you have to wait and see about the fitness of their two strikers because they haven't played for a while."

Lehmann's captain, Michael Ballack, did not complete his first training session on the way back from injury yesterday.

Yesterday's session was closed to the public and to the media. The German Football Association announced in a brief statement that Ballack had left training early. Ballack, the new Chelsea signing, suffered a strain to his right calf in the World Cup hosts' 3-0 win over Colombia last Friday.

The player and coaching staff have insisted all along that the injury was not serious but time was running out last night for him to make the curtain-raiser in Munich tomorrow.

"The medical department is working flat out and Michael Ballack is making progress in his recovery," a German Football Association spokesman told reporters yesterday.

Germany, the three-times World Cup winners, also play Poland and Ecuador in Group A and would certainly miss their inspirational captain should he not make the opening match.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform