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FREUND'S HOME VIEW

Posted on 24 June 2006  - 12:00

Lane legend Steffen Freund continues his World Cup reports from Germany with a look at the second round match-ups...

Lane legend Steffen Freund continues his World Cup reports from Germany with a look at the second round match-ups...

The midfielder played 131 times for us between 1999-2003 and was a member of the Germany squad that won Euro 96 in England. He also won the European Cup with Borussia Dortmund.

The fans favourite will give his views from his home throughout the tournament...

Germany v Sweden: Germany are favourites now after the group stages and you can feel the confidence growing here. Sweden play with very good energy, are compact and strong but I think Germany will win this game.

Argentina v Mexico: I hope Argentina win because I want Germany to play Argentina in the quarter-finals. I was at the Holland v Argentina game and Argentina rested half of their team that day but were still very strong. I think they are the favourites for the tournament at the moment, although I'm sticking with Italy. I just think if Germany play Argentina and beat them then Germany will have the belief to go all the way.

England v Ecuador: It's a fantastic draw for England and gives them a chance to improve a bit further again. They will look to play better game by game. I went to the England against Sweden match in Cologne as a fan - with my England shirt on - and thoroughly enjoyed it. They played much better in the first half of that match but, again, the second half wasn't so good. I think they will win this game 3-1.

Portugal v Holland: Portugal are my favourites for this game. Holland drew with Argentina but Argentina rested a lot of players and were still the better side. Holland have a lot of young players and need Robben and Van Nistelrooy on top form. Portugal are solid in midfield - I've been impressed with Maniche - and they look a potent threat up front.

Italy v Australia: I've said from the first week that Italy are my favourites for the tournament. Australia have been the big surprise along with Ghana, they are strong physically but I don't think they can beat Italy. The Italians look strong again and like Argentina, they have players who can come on and change things.

Switzerland v Ukraine: I spoke to Sergei Rebrov a couple of days ago because Ukraine are staying near my home in Germany. Ukraine weren't great against Tunisia but their coach Oleg Blokhin said he wanted to be strong defensively and score the chances when they came along. They did that and qualifed. It's not a big surprise to see Switzerland through, they are improving and co-host the European Championships next time around, so they are building for that as well. It's a close call, perhaps Switzerland will edge it.

Brazil v Ghana: I've been impressed with Ghana and all the African nations, they are all strong and have showed great technique. But this is Brazil in the knockout stages of the World Cup. They are getting better and better and it will be difficult for Ghana, especially without Essien.

Spain v France: This could be a great game. Spain have looked good but France finally played with two up front against Togo and looked better for it. If they stick with that for this game I think they could have a chance. Another difficult one to call.