Sport Everton midfielder Ross Barkley will be offered a new improved contract for his breakthrough into the first team this season

Barkley has broken into the first-team this season and has been tipped for inclusion in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad after making his England debut in September

Germans thrive when under pressure

"The World Cups of 20 and 16 years ago were garden parties compared to what is involved now, with the pressures that have developed. The increase in pressure seems continuous from one competition to the next. Now it is almost completely out of hand. In nearly all the countries of the world football is the most popular sport and today the media bring it to the masses and bring the feelings and demands of the masses back to those working in the game. It is my great fear that one day the World Cup will no longer be the sporting event [people] enjoy, it will become too big, too important, too hard on the people concerned, just impossible to go on with."

Scouting Report: Germany's probable team

Manuel Neuer

(Goalkeeper)

Sky-scraping 23-year-old Schalke goalkeeper has been one of the finds of the tournament. Has underlined why Manchester United are chasing him with all-action displays in the group stages. Inexperienced, but his game looks solid throughout.

Archie Bland: Preparing for the spot test

In The Times today, Michael Ballack used his column (registration required) to dismiss the value of penalty sessions in training.

Ballack completes return to Leverkusen

Michael Ballack has joined Bayer Leverkusen on a two-year contract.

Ballack close to Leverkusen switch

Michael Ballack is on the verge of signing for Bayer Leverkusen, according to reports in Germany.

Lahm discusses penalty possibility

Philipp Lahm believes England may not enjoy as much confidence as Germany should their World Cup last-16 clash have to be decided by penalties.

Ballack to take decision over future soon

Germany international midfielder Michael Ballack says that he will make a decision where he will play his football next season within the next two weeks.

German press relieved at progress

Germany are already in the groove of knockout football ahead of Sunday's World Cup second-round clash with England after passing the "first test" against Ghana yesterday, according to the national media.

Germans play down Boateng factor ahead of must-win game

Pity the Germany players. Holed up in a luxury, five-star spa and resort surrounded by nothing but scorched fields and red dust, the squad were finally allowed out on Saturday for the first time in two weeks to dress in civilian clothes and enjoy dinner in Pretoria.

Lee Dixon: Spain will bounce back, but don't be so sure about Germany

It has taken its time – especially when you have sat through every game – but the competition is coming alive. Spain's defeat provided the first moment of real drama and since then we have plenty to get our teeth into; Messi at his mesmerising best, mixed messages from an exciting new generation of German players and the shambles that is the French camp.

They scored four against Australia, but just how good are Löw's men?

In some respects England's performance against the US has been judged harshly. They were the superior team against opponents who are far better than perceived – the US are the only team to have beaten Spain in 47 matches, the only ones not to have lost to Spain in 39.

Germany beats 10-man Australia 4-0 at World Cup

Germany scored two goals in each half and Tim Cahill was sent off as three-time champion Germany beat Australia 4-0 today in Group D of the World Cup.

Suicide and leukaemia put Socceroos' crunch clash in perspective

Australia draw inspiration for today's 'final' with Germany
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