John Barnes Exclusive: International Football Friendlies – England v Germany

England continue their preparations for next Summer’s World Cup in Russia with two prestige International Football Friendlies. They take on Germany at Wembley today before Brazil visit the national stadium on Tuesday.
We sat down with ex-Liverpool legend and Bonus Code Bets ambassador John Barns in the lead up to these matches. Some people mightn’t fancy their chances agains the highest ranked teams in the world, but Barnes begs to differ; “Well I’d rate them highly because England always perform well in friendlies, we’ve seen the other so-called big nations experiment tactics against lesser opposition, but England always play to their maximum because the pressure on England is more than anyone else to always do well.”

If England play friendlies and they lose, the press gives them such a hard time that they really go out and do all they can to win in friendlies. But with other countries, if they don’t win, their press doesn’t get on their backs because they understand the manager may be trying out players or new tactics.”

This may very well come to fruition tonight and again on Tuesday. Head coach Gareth Southgate has been hit by a raft of withdrawals from his squad. Key players Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling are all joined on the sidelines by Harry Winks and Fabian Delph. As a result England’s odds to beat Germany have shifted, out from 13/8 with Betfred, underlining just how important the bookmakers believe those players to be, especially when compared to their replacements.

International Football Friendlies ENGLAND v GERMANY

International Football Friendlies England Brazil

*Odds at publication. Subject to change.

Southgate still has seven of the starting XI from October’s decisive World Cup qualifying victory over Slovenia available for selection. Though, he has called up a number of inexperienced players and hinted that he could switch formation to a back three after seeing his side struggle to create chances in recent games. With a young squad and potentially a new playing style, England will be up against it when they tackle the World Cup holders.

Kane, the Premier League’s joint leading goalscorer, is the most significant absentee for the International Football Friendlies. The Tottenham striker has scored seven goals in his last six games for England. He has carried them through a comfortable but uninspiring qualifying campaign. For the International Football Friendlies, he will be replaced as captain by Tottenham defender Eric Dier will captain England for the first time. Sterling has been in fine form for Manchester City, leading their scoring charts with 10 goals this season. Though, he has struggled when playing for the national team.

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has received a surprise call-up. Southgate sees him as a potential member of a ball-playing back three alongside John Stones and Gary Cahill. Although, the Chelsea man is unlikely to feature against Germany. Manchester United’s Ashley Young, meanwhile, has returned to the squad after a four-year absence with the England coach planning to utilise him as a wing-back.

Tammy Abraham, on-loan at Swansea from Chelsea, is another surprise inclusion. He may get a few minutes, but Kane’s absence is likely to hand Marcus Rashford a chance to shine alongside Jamie Vardy. Ruben Loftus-Cheek looks set to make his debut too. It’s an inexperienced attacking line-up for England. Vardy, Rashford and Jesse Lingard total a combined 36 caps and Abraham, like Loftus-Cheek, is hopeful of making his first appearance for the senior team.

Germany have no such injury troubles, with Thomas Muller their only notable absentee, and they are rightly 11/10 favourites to win at Wembley where they have not lost since 1975. England and Germany have a rich history of football internationals. England famously won the 1966 World Cup final but Germany has gained the upper hand ever since.

The two most recent meetings have both come in the last 18 months. Germany won 1-0 at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion in March. Then England came from two goals down to secure a shock 3-2 win in Berlin a year earlier.

“The thing with Germany individually is they may not have the strongest squad, but they do have talent like Mesut Ozil, even though they’re not outstanding. Of course, they also have Julian Draxler who is a fantastic player and at the back they have Mats Hummels, who is excellent. But if I had to pick one, it would be Manuel Neuer as he’s the best goalkeeper in the world.” said Barnes.

The last six meetings at Wembley reveal a picture of German dominance. England has lost five and drawn only one – the Euro 96 semi-final that they went on to lose on penalties. Four of those defeats have come in international football friendlies, with the other in a 2002 World Cup qualifier.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has handed recalls to Bayern Munich’s World Cup winner Mario Gotze and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan. Gundogan’s City team-mate Leroy Sane is also back in contention after his blistering start to the season. Sane has the potential to be one of the stars in Russia next summer, as does the RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner. Werner has scored 18 goals in his last 24 matches, including six in his last five internationals.

Event Selection Odds Brand
England vs Germany Germany to Win 11/10* Betfred logo
England vs Germany Germany to Win 9/8* Sporting Bet Logo

*Odds at publication. Subject to change.