By Paul Kennedy
Germany was one of only four teams to win all three group
games at the 2006 World Cup -- its first clean sweep in the first stage
since 1970 -- but that will be all forgottten if it doesn't make a long
run in the tournament.
Germany faces a tough test Saturday against Sweden in Munich, but Coach
is confident that Germany will win.
"We have a lot of respect for Sweden, they've got some great players in
their ranks," he said. "But we think we'll be able to beat Sweden. Even
if it goes 120 minutes, we're hopeful and confident that we'll be in
better shape than they are. Confidence is our strength," he added. "I
don't have any feeling that our younger players are nervous or thinking
Klinsmann looked beyond the Sweden game and said it would be a disaster
if Germany doesn't make the final four.
"Our expectations as a soccer nation don't stop in the round of 16 or
at the quarterfinal stage," Klinsmann says. "There's simply no way for
that, especially at a World Cup in your home country. I
believe the team is motivated to the max. They know what they're
capable of doing. After that, we've got the next stage. I feel great.
The mood is fantastic."
If Germany gets past Sweden, it will stay in Munich and face the winner
of the Argentina-Mexico game next Friday.
IN AND OUT.
Ibrahimovic should lead Sweden's attack after being
hindered by a groin strain picked up in Sweden's second
game and sitting out the England game. Christoph Metzelder
will return to the middle of the German backline after being rested in
the Ecuador game.
has won two of three World Cup meetings against Sweden, but Sweden
leads the overall series with 13 wins, 12 losses and six ties in 31
games. Host Sweden's 3-1 win over defending champion West Germany in
the semifinals of the 1958 World Cup prompted the "Cold War," as
outraged Germans boycotted Scandinavian products. In 1974, host West
victory over Sweden in Duesseldorf was one of the best games of the
Germany (4-4-2): 1-Jens Lehmann; 3-Arne Friedrich,
21-Christoph Metzelder, 17-Per Mertesacker, 16-Philipp Lahm; 19-Bernd
Schneider, 8-Torsten Frings, 13-Michael Ballack, 7-Bastian
Schweinsteiger; 20-Lukas Podolski, 11-Miroslav Klose.
(4-4-2): 1-Andreas Isaksson; 3-Olof Mellberg, 4-Teddy
Edman, 7-Niclas Alexandersson; 6-Tobias Linderoth, 9-Fredrik Ljungberg,
21-Christian Wilhelmsson, 16-Kim Kallstrom; 20-Marcus Allback,
Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil).
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backs to the wall
Mexico faces a fourth straight exit from the World Cup in the round
of 16 if it doesn't beat Argentina Saturday in Leipzig's Zentralstadion.
years ago, the Tri entered the knockout phase on a roll after winning
its group, but it fell to the USA, 2-0, in a memorable CONCACAF
This time, Mexico began the World Cup full of confidence but struggled
in the first round. After
beating Iran, 3-1, in its opening game, Mexico tied Angola, 0-0, and
lost to Group D winner Portugal, 2-1.
"We will continue to insist on working on our finishing,"
Mexico's Argentine coach, Ricardo
La Volpe, said after the Portugal game.
Much was made of Argentina's explosive attack in its first two
games, but Argentina was also effective in shutting down its opponents.
It allowed only one goal in three games in what was billed, before the
tournament, the Group of Death.
IN AND OUT.
Fabricio Coloccini replaces right back Nicolas Burdisso,
injured against the Netherlands, at right back for Argentina. Brazilian-born Antonio
Naelson "Zinha" should replace the suspended Luis Perez
Their only World
Cup meeting came in 1930 when Argentina won, 6-3, in the group
In their most recent meeting in an official competition, Argentina beat
Mexico on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the 2005 Confederations
Cup in Mexico.
1-Roberto Abbondanzieri; 4-Fabricio Coloccini,
2-Roberto Ayala, 6-Gabriel Heinze, 3-Juan Pablo Sorin; 18-Maxi
Rodriguez, 8-Javier Mascherano, 5-Esteban Cambiasso, 10-Juan Roman
Riquelme; 7-Javier Saviola, 9-Hernan Crespo.
Sanchez; 16-Mario Mendez, 4-Rafael Marquez, 5-Ricardo Osorio, 3-Carlos
Salcido, 14-Gonzalo Pineda; 6-Gerardo Torrado, 7-Antonio Naelson
"Zinha", 8-Pavel Pardo; 9-Jared Borgetti, 17-Jose Francisco Fonseca.
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Rossi handed four-game suspension
Italy midfielder Daniele
De Rossi was suspended for four matches after being red
carded for elbowing U.S. striker Brian
McBride in last Saturday's Group E game.
Italian soccer federation spokesman Antonello
Valentini said the ban would have been five games but for
the letter of apology De Rossi wrote to FIFA.
"If you make a mistake it is right that you pay," said Gianclarlo Abete,
head of Italy's World Cup delegation. "FIFA's decision needs to be
respected and accepted calmly."