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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: June 24, 11:39 AM UK
Low ready for England clash

Germany coach Joachim Low is relishing a meeting with England in the last 16 of the World Cup after his side topped Group D with a 1-0 win over Ghana, but warned that Wayne Rooney is the man who could "explode" into life after a slow start to the tournament.

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Mesut Ozil's goal sealed the win which sets up a clash with Fabio Capello's side in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon.

Low said: "We are looking forward to taking on England, it's always special for us. There is a great history in the World Cup between England and Germany.

"I've watched England's matches so far, they were struggling in the first two matches but that is quite normal, sometimes you only pick up speed as you go through the tournament. They haven't shown the best of form so far but make no mistake this is a wonderful team. England have have enormous experience so this team is going to be incredibly dangerous.

"Rooney may not have been a big gun so far but he is always ready to explode, he is difficult to mark and control so our defence will need to watch that he doesn't score."

Low was left with a few injury worries ahead of the clash with England, with Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng all picking up knocks, but he was generally pleased with his side's performance.

He said: "It was a very intensive game and on both sides every effort was made to create chances. Ghana is a strong team, they are very skilful and created many dangerous opportunities.

"We have many young players but at the end of the day we took the pressure, came to terms with it and scored in a very decisive moment."

Asked how he thought his young side would now handle the increased pressure of the knockout stages, he said: "I don't think we've got to deal with it in any particular way, we don't have to be afraid of the knockout stages. It is important to remain calm even if we don't find the rhythm that we want straight away.

"All teams have to come to terms with great pressure, even teams with playes experienced in the Champions League. If we'd taken the lead with Ozil's first chance the match might have taken a different direction."

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac was pleased with his side's performance as they pressed Germany hard for 90 minutes but were made to pay for one lapse of concentration when Ozil was given too much space on the edge of the area to fire home the only goal.

With the Ivory Coast only having a mathematical chance of reaching the knockout phase, Rajevac was happy to be keeping the flag flying for Africa.

The Serbian said: "I'm surprised my defence made this mistake and we were punished. But I am delighted that my side Ghana is the only African side to reach the knockout phase. I'm still trying to come to terms with the situation. We have now got the next match against the United States, so we don't have much time to be enthusiastic about this win as we have to think about the next game.

"I think the majority of South Africans will now support Ghana, we're the only African team left so I hope we will benefit from massive support."




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