England versus Germany never gets old

Germany's Karl-Heinz Riedle (left) and England's Darren Anderton will do battle in a Masters friendly match at the National Stadium on Nov 12.
Germany's Karl-Heinz Riedle (left) and England's Darren Anderton will do battle in a Masters friendly match at the National Stadium on Nov 12.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

The famous anthem of Euro 1996 - Three Lions - sang of "30 years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming". It is now 50 long years since England won their only major international football title, the 1966 World Cup, but Darren Anderton is still dreaming of getting the better of arch-rivals Germany, who have three European and four World Cup titles.

On Nov 12, the Battle Of Europe - an England Masters v Germany Masters friendly match at the National Stadium - might finally be his own way of settling the score. The 44-year-old said: "The rivalry is a massive one. We're reminded of it back home because we won only the World Cup 50 years ago and we've tried to put that right throughout our careers."

He was part of the England team that went into Euro 1996 as hosts and favourites, but dealt with heartbreak as Germany edged them in the semi-final penalty shoot-out. Speaking at the Battle Of Europe media conference at the Singapore Marriott yesterday, the former midfielder said: "Our biggest losses and disappointments have come against the Germans, so it's always something you want to put right."

The rivalry is also palpable among former Germany stalwarts such as Karl-Heinz Riedle.

Said the 50-year-old, who was in the 1990 World Cup-winning squad: "You really want to win, especially when it comes to the big nations like England, Italy and Spain. You have more motivation, so (once you step out of the changing room) you'll always be very (focused). England v Germany is the biggest one, definitely."

While they concur on the rivalry, their thoughts on the current state of their respective national teams could not be more different. Anderton believes the Class of '96 were of a different calibre.

  • Ticket details


    Battle Of Europe 2016: England Masters v Germany Masters


    •National Stadium, Nov 12, 7pm


    •Standard: $30/$45 to $200 for VIP packages

    •Concession: $19 (students aged 12 and below/senior citizens 65 and above)

    •Family: $100 (two adult and two concession)

    Available at Sports Hub Tix

"Not being able to get (the current team) to gel has been the problem. At the moment they're looking for someone to replace (Wayne) Rooney as captain and there aren't any candidates," he said. "Back in Euro 1996, we had a team full of captains and leaders and that's what made that a great team."

Riedle feels the reigning World Cup champions would beat his 1990 team. He said: "We had really good individual players. But the whole set-up for Germany was (to produce) young players like Mario Gotze or (Mesut) Ozil. They are fantastic players, so if you compare the sides, (they) are the better team."

Tickets for the Battle Of Europe are available at www.mastersfootball.com and Sports Hub Tix.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'England versus Germany never gets old'. Print Edition | Subscribe