ENGLAND V GERMANY 2000; So Can We Do It?

Article excerpt

THE expectation is mounting ...

but England have not beaten Germany in a tournament since that famous World Cupwinning day in 1966.

Can Kevin Keegan's team put that right at last? We ask sporting figures and celebrities from both camps what they think will unfold in Charleroi tonight.

YES says the legendary Bert Trautmann, the German prisonerof-war who became Manchester City's goalkeeper and famously played on with a broken neck in the 1956 FA Cup Final. Trautmann, now 76 and living in Spain, is backing England to win 2-1 and says: 'If they can't beat this German side, they should pack their bags and go home. The Germans have no figurehead this time.'

NO says Franz Beckenbauer, Germany's World Cup-winning player and manager: I'm glad Lothar Matthaus is playing. He would have been in my team and he's not too old for this job. It will be a fight to the death for both teams but I think it will be harder for England and, remember, we have not lost to the English in 34 years. I believe Germany will win.'

YES says Sir Walter Winterbottom, an England manager who knows what it is like to beat the Germans: 'People are saying that this is the worst Germany side ever,' he says, 'and I believe England will win,' he says. I remember our first visit after the War in 1956. The Germans had won the World Cup two years previously but we beat them 3-1. There were thousands of Allied troops in the Berlin crowd and it was so important politically.

'YES says novelist Jilly Cooper: 'I'm sure England can win. They've just got to use their heads and not panic. The trouble when they played the Portuguese was that they treated them too gently because they were the underdogs, but they're much better when they're up against a really good enemy like Germany. I wish them huge luck, the dear boys.'

YES says Sir Bobby Charlton but the England players must believe in themselves more: 'Kevin Keegan appears to be able to motivate the team.

Any questions raised about him have been about tactics and the method we play. But if the players have confidence in the tactics they shouldn't be afraid of anyone.'

YES says Terry Wogan, broadcaster: 'I think England will win. I've been ill this week and have seen every match. Now I'm a connoisseur. I think England are a good team and they will beat Germany - this is the worst German team since the Kaiser's time.'

NO says Robert Harris, novelist - historian and best-selling author of Fatherland (a fictional story set in a victorious post-war Nazi Germany): 'If you were to bet your house on it you'd do better to go with the Germans. …