Flick - England are favourites

Flick hails strength of Three Lions

Flick: Low's right-hand man

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Germany assistant manager Hansi Flick has claimed that his side will be the underdogs against England on Sunday.

While Germany impressed in finishing top of their group, England have so far failed to shine and only finished second in Group C.

However, there were encouraging signs in the 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Wednesday and Flick is expecting a tough game in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

He believes England have the edge on paper because of the reputation of their players and the tactical nous of manager Fabio Capello.

"They have so many stars in their team and in our match they are the favourites," said Flick.

"They play modern football, have gained a lot in tactical matters under Fabio Capello and can beat any team.

"This match will be an absolute classic."

Reflecting on England's indifferent form during the group phase, Flick added: "England have so far not shown what they're capable of but they're one of the favourites to win the World Cup.

"They may have not shown their full potential in the first games but they are experienced enough to now turn the switch. It will be a completely different match against us."

Rooney threat

The player who could pose the biggest threat to Germany is Wayne Rooney, with Joachim Low already stating that he could be 'ready to explode'.

Arne Friedrich is also wary of the Manchester United striker and knows Germany must tighten up defensively to keep him at bay.

"I think Wayne Rooney has amazing qualities. He may not have peaked yet but when it comes to the crunch matches, players like him always deliver," said Friedrich.

"So we must consider ourselves warned. We cannot give away as much space as we did against Ghana."

Germany's squad is their youngest at a World Cup finals in 76 years but Friedrich is not worried about England's extra experience.

"If we're able to find this lightness we had in our (4-0 opening) win over Australia then this youth may be an advantage instead of a disadvantage," he said.

Penalty preparation

The biggest clashes between the teams include the 1966 World Cup final, which England won, and the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 semi-finals, both of which Germany clinched on penalties.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer added: "We will, of course, prepare for penalties but hopefully we can decide the match in our favour before that.

"But the people in the team will prepare me for that case and I will have to play the memory game (if it comes to a penalty shoot-out)."