Monday, November 29, 1999

This German side has flair

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India, June 18 -- I was pleased with Germany's strong performance against Australia and with four different players sharing the goals. There were concerns that the loss of experienced players, particularly captain Michael Ballack, might affect the team but they have responded well and it was difficult to find a weakness. The passing and movement was very good, the finishing excellent, and when Australia had possession, we defended well. Serbia had a very disappointing result against Ghana. The team has experienced players - Manchester United's Vidic is a strong leader in defence, captain Stankovic of Inter Milan adds quality and expereince to the midfield and Jovanovic and Zigic are capable of more than what they showed against Ghana. Although I expect a closer game than against Australia, I feel this German team has the flair - something not usually associated with Germany - to win by two clear goals. The USA did well to hold a disappointing England and will be confident going into the game against Slovenia, who will be equally buoyed after their narrow win against a spirited Algeria. Both teams will rely on hard work, discipline and organization with the USA looking to Landon Donovan for something special and Slovenia trying to catch the Americans on the counter-attack. England must rediscover their form against Algeria and win by two or possibly three goals. Against the USA, they felt the pressure and did not deal with it.After the defeat to Slovenia, Algeria will be playing for pride. This can free them from pressure and we have seen in the defeat of Spain and the struggle of Brazil that being the better team doesn't guarantee an easy three points in any manner.

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