5 key battles for England’s crunch last-16 clash with Germany at Wembley

It’s the mother of all showdowns at Wembley as Gareth Southgate prepares his troops for a huge clash with rivals Germany for a place in the quarter-finals.

We’ve already seen some upsets in the knockout rounds and this one looks hard to call either way based on form from the group stages.

England qualified unbeaten with seven points from three games, though hardly delivered a performance to make fans believe it would definitely be coming home this summer.

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Meanwhile Germany have been indifferent, losing to France despite playing well, before blowing Portugal away and then struggling to a draw with Hungary as they were just minutes from going out of the tournament altogether.

Harry Kane is looking to grab his first goal of the tournament

Southgate of course has previous with Germany, having missed the crucial penalty 25 years ago at Euro ’96, but will be hoping his side can get the job done without the need for the lottery of a shootout.

As ever, the match is likely to come down to several key individual contests on the field, and Germany’s former World Cup winning captain Phillip Lahm has picked out five battles that could decide the fixture.

Here’s what Lahm told Mirror Football exclusively about the game ahead.

Harry Kane v Mats Hummels

Kane has not had the best games in the group stages but that doesn’t change he is one of the best goal scorers in Europe.

That is why it is so important that a player with the experience of Hummels takes responsibility.

Physically I expect it to be a big battle as well – they are both imposing players.

Jack Grealish v Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos oozes quality in Germany's midfield
Toni Kroos oozes quality in Germany’s midfield

Kroos has much more experience on the biggest stage – but what these players both have is so much creativity.

In games like this it can be so tight and it takes one set piece or one exceptional pass to change the game.

Both of these players are capable of that moment of brilliance from midfield.

Harry Maguire v Kai Havertz

Harry Maguire was solid on his return last week and will be hoping for similar against Germany
Harry Maguire was solid on his return last week and will be hoping for similar against Germany

England look more assured with Maguire in the team and he will need to be a leader in this game.

Havertz towards the end of last season started to show the player we know he is and he has continued that in The Euros.

I expect him to cause England a lot of problems.

Kyle Walker v Serge Gnabry

England will need to be aware of Serge Gnabry's raw pace
England will need to be aware of Serge Gnabry’s raw pace

There is a lot of pace in The German attack and it will be a big game for Walker.

He has a lot of experience but also has the pace to try and deal with Gnabry and Manor.

I expect their pace to be a big threat to England.

Who will progress to the quarter-finals? Let us know your score predictions in the comments below.

Declan Rice v Ilkay Gundogan

This is youth v experience – but both players I think will be looking to control the pace of the game from midfield and look to exert some dominance.

Gundogan will be a big goal threat from midfield as well.

England are expected to match Germany’s system by deploying wing-backs to try and nullify the threat of Joshua Kimmich and Robin Gosens on either flank.

While Lahm has highlighted Grealish as a key player, the midfielder may not even get to start the tie, with Southgate thought to be favouring one of Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka or Mason Mount ahead of the Aston Villa captain.

Meanwhile there are question marks over Germany’s side too, with Gosens, Gundogan and Antonio Rudiger all reportedly doubtful for the match, which could have a big impact on Joachim Low’s selection.

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