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Hamann & Heskey Part II: England vs Germany

FFT: What did you think of your respective countries’ performance during Euro 2016?

England have a good squad – but we always have good squads! We need to pick players who are in form and playing regularly

EH: Like the rest of the country – I thought England were very disappointing!

DH: I felt it was good for Germany without being outstanding. Finishing let us down in the semi-final defeat against France.

FFT: Looking at the current squads, what do you make of your respective teams overall heading into the next World Cup cycle?

EH: England has a good squad – but we always have relatively good squads! We need to be picking players who are in form and playing regularly for their clubs. I’m a big fan of Adam Lallana and I also really like Dele Alli and Harry Kane. I think both of them have got big futures in the national team.

DH: To be honest I think Germany look very good. We have some fantastic young players coming through. Joshua Kimmich, who played at the World Cup and has been on fire for Bayern Munich, is going to be a superstar. Max Meyer from Schalke looks like a top player in the making and also Julian Brandt from Bayer Leverkusen has huge potential. I’m very optimistic we can defend our World Cup title at Russia 2018.

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FFT: Do you expect to have many troubles qualifying for the 2018 World Cup?

EH: No trouble at all. It’s basically the same old cliché for the England team: “Qualifying isn’t the problem, tournaments are.”

DH: In a word, no!

FFT: Who do you view as the key player for your team along the path to Russia?

EH: Dele Alli – he’s a very exciting talent.

DH: Toni Kroos – he is simply world class. In recent years he has taken over from Bastian Schweinsteiger as the main man in central midfield. He dictates the game and has a great footballing brain. Jerome Boateng will also be a big player for us over the next couple of years.

FFT: It’s still two years away of course, but if you could use your crystal ball, what would be your expectations at the 2018 World Cup?

EH: We must aim high, as the country always does. The semi-finals have to be the target.

DH: I think we will get to the semi-finals as a minimum. Once you get there you need a bit of luck, but I’m confident we will be there or thereabouts.

[NEXT: Their favourite moments in national colours]

FFT: What is your opinion on your former teammates’ country at the moment?

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EH: Germany are a strong side for sure. You would have to think they would at least make the quarter-finals, but a lot of it depends on the draw.

DH: I think it will be mighty tough for England. It really depends on how the players develop, but I can’t see it happening in the next two years. Maybe in Qatar 2022 once this group has played together for a while.

FFT: Emile, what are your memories of facing Germany during your playing career?

EH: They were always a strong outfit and always super-fit. They also always seemed to have exciting attacking players.

FFT: And Didi, what about when you came up against England?

DH: I have some mixed memories. They were always big games between these nations of course. I always enjoyed the physical battle with the English. I often knew the English players from my time at Liverpool, which always added an extra bit of spice to the occasion.

FFT: What is your favourite memory from any time in your life, from being a young child to today, involving matches between England and Germany?

EH: My favourite memory has to be my goal in the 5-1 victory over Germany in World Cup qualifying in 2001.

DH: For me it has to be scoring the match winner and the last goal at the old Wembley Stadium in a World Cup qualifier back in 2000.

There are some top players involved on both sides. Lothar Matthaus vs Paul Scholes could be the key battle!

FFT: What about your personal highlight in any match when donning your national colours?

EH: It’s the same answer for me – my goal in the 5-1 victory against Germany.

DH: The World Cup in 2002, where we got beaten by Brazil in the final. We went in to the tournament with relatively low expectations, but created the most amazing team spirit and very nearly went all the way.

FFT: Who do you think will win this year’s Battle of Europe in Singapore?

EH: I have to say England – it’s going to be a great game. There are some top players involved on both sides. Lothar Matthaus vs Paul Scholes in midfield is going to be interesting and could be the key battle!

DH: Germany, of course! I expect it to be mighty tough for the English.

For more on the Battle Of Europe 2016, see Masters Football Asia and Sports Hub Tix.