Gareth Southgate has dismissed any suggestion his England side will be favourites when they play Germany on Tuesday, describing it as a “really tough game” against a “top-quality opponent”.
Speaking on the eve of the in Euro 2020 last 16 tie at Wembley, Southgate said the Germans had “prepared for big matches” by coming through an “incredibly tough qualifying group”.
Germany were in Group F, alongside France, Portugal and Hungary.
“The quality of the matches and the standard of the opponent has been really high,” the England manager pointed out.
“Although I keep reading lots of negative comments about them, I see a team that’s well-prepared, tactically know what they’re doing, that work together, so we know it’s a really, really tough game for us.”
Southgate also referenced Germany’s “huge big-match experience”, their four World Cup winners and “numerable Champions League winners”.
Nevertheless, the England boss said he does not “necessarily think that this game is any bigger than the Scotland game”.
But Germany are a “top-quality opponent” and “if the players choose to listen to all the build-up then a lot of history’s involved in the fixture”.
England are the only UK nation still in the tournament after Wales were well beaten by Denmark in their last-16 clash on Saturday.
Ukraine or Sweden lie ahead if England win, in a match to be played on Saturday evening in Rome.
Discussing his team sheet, Southgate said it would be “complicated” for Chelsea’s Mason Mount to start, but did not rule it out.
Mount and Ben Chilwell have been isolating since coming into contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour in the home nations’ clash.
“They are having to travel separately to the team – they’ve had individual training programmes this week,” Southgate said.
“The only sessions they’ve been able to join in with is when there’s not full team training. So that’s the basis on which we’ve got to make the decision.
“And then from midnight tonight (Monday into Tuesday) they can be freely back with the group.”
Captain Harry Kane was upbeat about England’s chances and said the team’s mood is good.
“It’s just one to look forward to – we feel confident, we’ve had a good start to the tournament – areas we can improve for sure – but hopefully we can take that into tomorrow night,” said the striker, who has yet to score in the tournament.
Germany have been banned from training on the Wembley pitch over concerns the surface could be damaged by the amount of rain forecast.
German newspaper Bild has called it a “scandal”, saying it gives an unfair advantage to England, who have played all three group games so far on home turf.
Some 45,000 fans will be inside Wembley for the match – double that of the group games.