|Attempts on target||21||20|
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A point is all Germany require to reach the UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals for the first time since 1982 yet Manuel Neuer is urging his side to adopt "a positive frame of mind" when they take on Group B leaders England in Halmstad.
'Ready to go'
The goalkeeper has kept clean sheets against Spain and Finland, and recognises another sterling effort will be needed if Horst Hrubesch's side are to book their place in the last four. "We're all in a very positive frame of mind," Neuer told uefa.com. "We're motivated, ready to go and will try everything to win the match. We have to show this right from the kick-off. We know England are strong on the counterattack and have a compact defence, which means they can change from defence to attack very quickly. We must be really careful to make sure we have numerical superiority when defending so they can't use their dangerous counterattacks."
One of two teams still to concede after two matches in Sweden, Neuer attributes Germany's impeccable defensive record to "working well together". When asked to elaborate, he replied: "We're very compact in defence and play very defensively, right from the front whenever the other team has the ball. We know what we have to do once they have possession; there's a reason why we haven't conceded a goal so far. The defence fits together very well, even the strikers work very hard in defence. We move very well to prevent scoring opportunities for our opponents. We're defending very well as a team, we're very compact. I'm confident this will be the case again, and hopefully in the matches ahead too. The defensive performance has been the key to our success up to now and will be [on Monday] as well."
'Never a friendly'
With Germany needing just a point to make sure of their place in the last four and England already assured of progress, there may be a danger of an anti-climax at Örjans vall, but not for Neuer. "It's never a friendly against Germany," said the FC Schalke 04 man. "The game still matters for England as well as they definitely want to win the group to play the second-placed team from the other section. They will be really giving it their all, and I think they don't really want to meet us again either." When mention was made of Germany's surprisingly poor record against England – of the sides' eight competitive meetings, England have lost only one, the first, back in 1982 – the goalkeeper remained unruffled. "I didn't know that statistic, but I've never played against England. It won't have any effect on our performance."
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