World Cup 2010 - World Cup Paper Round: England expects

Sun, 27 Jun 09:24:00 2010

It's crunch time for England and today's last 16 clash with old enemies Germany dominates the front and back pages of the Sunday newspapers.

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It's crunch time for England and today's last 16 clash with old enemies Germany dominates the front and back pages of the Sunday newspapers.

The News of the World's front page features a picture of key trio Steven Gerard, John Terry and Wayne Rooney, all complete with fangs, alongside a roaring lion.

And the headline? "All-out roar!"

The back page focus is on, you guessed it, Rooney with a new take on the national anthem: "Long to Wayne over us" it sings above "Official: Roo is 100% fit to KO Germans".

Chief football correspondent Neil Ashton has also slammed Germany boss Joachim Low for missing last night's media conference, accusing the 50-year-old of "running scared".

The Sunday Express, "on a day of destiny for English football" leads with Rooney emblazoned with a St. George's flag and the headline: "Your country needs Roo!"

Leaf inside the back page and Jamie Carragher, suspended for the win over Slovenia and sweating on a starting spot today, insists Rooney's scouse spirit will fire the Three Lions to victory.

Former Germany keeper Oliver Kahn, however, has backed new stopper Manuel Neuer, just 24, to have the final say over 39-year-old England veteran David James.

The Daily Star has been at its jingoistic best since Wednesday and is not letting back today with the front page headline simply: "We'll stuff Germans".

And the back page headlines roar with equal measure: "Roo dares wins!", "Bring it hun" and "Gerrard terrifies Germans".

So is that enough Roo-focussed headlines for you? No chance! "We'll make Roo sorry!" shouts the Sunday Mirror's front page.

On the back page, legend Terry Butcher, who captained England in the semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany at Italia '90, has urged the current crop to take "revenge" and end "20 years of hurt".

And, as in the Sunday Express, Carragher has again backed Rooney, this time alongside fellow scouser Gerrard, to do the job.

"I think in Rooney and Steven Gerrard we've got two of the best players in the world," said Carragher.

There's no getting away from the prospect of a penalty shoot-out and former Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel believes being an England player and missing a spot-kick is the worst fate that can fall on a football player.

But, while Rooney is the pre-match messiah in the red-top tabloids, The Mail on Sunday - "Cappello fears over Rooney" - is less optimistic.

The England boss insists the talismanic hit man is in top form but sources inside the camp say the Italian has been working overtime to nurse Rooney, said to be only 80 per cent fit and struggling with the pressure of the tournament, for the big occasion.

If this morning's papers are anything to go by, then the pressure on Rooney must be huge and it scarcely gets any better in the broadsheets.

"Let's make history" may be the headline in the Sunday Times sports section but the focus soon falls on Rooney: "Manager pleads: Rooney will be back to his best...and he'll score".

Inside Everton boss David Moyes, former England man Gareth Southgate and Ajax coach Martin Jol reveal how to beat the Germans.

Press Germany's youngsters into making mistakes, utilise Rooney's ability to link-up play and suppress Germany's width by stopping right-back Philipp Lahm in his tracks, are the messages from each respectively.

The Sunday Telegraph has a different take to the News of the World on Low's decision to miss the pre-match news conference.

Germany's Euro '96 shoot-out hero Andreas Kopke was put before the media instead and "German mind games" is the conclusion.

The same paper also reveals that uniformed English and German police officers will patrol together in Bloemfontein in a bid to defuse tension between rival supporters.

And, never fear, "Cometh the hour..." is the message on Rooney.

The Independent's sports pull-out leads with the same headline as the Sunday Express: "Your country needs Roo".

Columnist and Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who guided the Seasiders to the Premier League last season, believes Franz Beckenbauer's ill-timed digs at England have done Capello's team talk for him.

"One of the reasons I hope we can win is so that we can ram those words down his throat," says Holloway.

The Observer is the only newspaper which fails to lead with Rooney, instead focussing on Capello's attempts to play down the rivalry between England and Germany.

And, to their credit, the same newspaper is also the only Sunday national to lead with Ghana's 2-1 extra-time win over the United States with a half-page picture of Anthony Annan, Lee Addy and Sulley Muntari celebrating with decisive goal scorer Asamoah Gyan.

The host continent's sole remaining team became only the third African side to reach the quarter-finals after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.

Here's a headline from German newspaper Bild to send a shiver down the neck of even the most ardent of England supporters: "Schweini fit for England".

Star man Bastian Schweinsteiger, who limped off with a thigh injury during Germany's 1-0 victory over Ghana, trained with the Germany team yesterday and is expected to be fit to play.

The paper also features a man-to-man comparison of Germany and England's expected starting line-ups. Here's how they fared:

Manuel Neuer v David James - Neuer wins, 1-0

Philipp Lahm v Glen Johnson - Lahm wins, 2-0

Per Mertesacker v Matthew Upson - Mertesacker wins, 3-0

Arne Friedrich v John Terry - Terry wins, 3-1

Holger Badstuber v Ashley Cole - Cole wins, 3-2

Sami Khedira v Frank Lampard - Lampard wins, 3-3

Bastian Schweinsteiger v Gareth Barry - Schweinsteiger wins, 4-3

Thomas Muller v Steven Gerrard - Gerrard wins, 4-4

Mesut Ozil v Wayne Rooney - Ozil wins, 5-4

Lukas Podolski v James Milner - Milner wins, 5-5

Miroslav Klose v Jermaine Defoe - Klose wins, 6-5

Final score: Germany 6-5 England

Well you didn't think it would be an England win, did you?


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