The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Just thinking of our next game, says Klinsmann
- Ecuador wary of Ballack threat
We have a hard game. We have a lot of respect for Ecuador... We want to win the group and we want to go into the next round with confidence — Klinsmann

Berlin: Forget about England. Germany and Ecuador, who are already assured of a place in the second round, face each other on Tuesday in their final Group A match.

“We are just thinking of our next game,” Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann said Monday. “We don’t really care. It’s going to be very hard in the knockout stage, no matter who we play.

“And no, we are not practising penalties,” Klinsmann said, referring to Germany’s favourite way of eliminating England.

“Tomorrow, we have a hard game. We have a lot of respect for Ecuador. We want to win. We want to win the group and we want to go into the next round with confidence.”

A draw is enough for Ecuador, which has a better goal difference after beating Poland 2-0 and Costa Rica 3-0. Germany, three-time World Cup champions, beat Costa Rica 4-2 and edged Poland 1-0.

If they win, Germany would equal their best World Cup start, from 1970 in Mexico, when they also won their first three games. They then played England ' and won in extra-time.

In the second round, the winner of the group plays the second-place team from group B ' likely to be either Sweden or England, although Trinidad and Tobago also have a chance.

The Germany-Ecuador game is in the afternoon, while England plays Sweden in the evening and the two teams will know before kick-off what they have to do to avoid the host team.

Germany have played much better than England, who just need to draw with Sweden to clinch first place in group B, but they would still rather avoid their old rivals at this early stage.

“England haven’t been convincing but they would raise their game for a one-off match,” assistant coach Joachim Loew warned.

Klinsmann was trying to keep his players’ attention on Ecuador. “We are already very involved with Ecuador,” He said. “They deserve a lot of respect. They will be very tough to play.”

Both teams are likely to rest some players, although Germany will risk losing Michael Ballack to suspension in the hope of maintaining their momentum.

“He’ll play for sure,” Loew said. “But we’ll talk to him. We will tell him not to make unnecessary fouls but he needs to find his rhythm.”

Ballack knows all about crucial suspensions. He missed the 2002 World Cup final defeat to Brazil after picking up a second yellow card in the semi-final.

Ballack missed his team’s opening victory over Costa Rica because of a calf injury. He returned for the win against Poland but also picked up a yellow card.

“It’s difficult to hold yourself back at the World Cup. In some games sometimes you get the feeling you can do it but not here,” Ballack said on Sunday.

“You want to win, you want to play well and tackling is part of the game. It’s important for us to have a good game and bolster our confidence.”

Ecuador coach Luis Fernando Suarez described Germany’s offence as their strength, but that their defence sometimes could be easily breached.

“I don’t want to draw. I want to win and our aim will be to win,” Suarez said, who may have to do without injured strikers Carlos Tenorio and Agustin Delgado.

Suarez, who may rest players on yellow cards, was clear where the main German danger would come from.

“Germany have some good players, but Ballack is the great talent,” he told reporters. “We have beaten Brazil and Argentina. Let’s see if we have the same luck against Germany.”

He said that while Ballack’s attacks were cause for concern, there were no plans to man mark him.

Captain Ivan Hurtado, fellow defender Ulises de la Cruz, goalkeeper Cristian Mora and midfielders Edison Mendez and Castillo Segundo are the players on one booking.

Apart from Ballack, Germany has two other players with yellow cards: defender Christoph Metzelder and attacking midfielder David Odonkor, a reserve.

Metzelder twisted his right in Saturday’s practice but has passed a fitness test and should be available ' unless Klinsmann decides to rest him, and then he is likely be replaced by Robert Huth.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, disappointing against Poland, could lose out to Tim Borowski and Neuville.


Ecuador: 12-Cristian Mora; 4-Ulises de la Cruz, 3-Ivan Hurtado, 17-Giovanny Espinoza, 18-Neicer Reasco; 8-Edison Mendez, 20-Edwin Tenorio, 14-Segundo Castillo, 16-Luis Antonio Valencia; 11-Agustin Delgado, 10-Ivan Kaviedes.

Germany: 1-Jens Lehmann; 3-Arne Friedrich, 21-Christoph Metzelder, 17-Per Mertesacker, 16-Philipp Lahm; 19-Bernd Schneider, 8-Torsten Frings, 13-Michael Ballack, 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 20-Lukas Podolski, 11-Miroslav Klose.

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