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James: England-Germany history will be ignored

RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AP) — England will ignore the historical significance of playing Germany when the teams meet in the round of match at the World Cup on Sunday.

That's the view of goalkeeper David James, who is well aware of the history between the nations.

Matches between England and Germany traditionally have been dramatic.

England scored a disputed goal in the 1966 World Cup final and won 4-2 in extra time. Germany came from 2-0 down to win at the 1970 tournament.

The Germans won penalty-kick shootouts at the 1990 event and the 1996 European Championship. Germany won the titles in both of those tournaments.

James said England won't lack confidence if the match ends in a penalty shootout despite Germany's traditional expertise at spot kicks.

"If it goes to penalties, there's an opportunity for Germany to miss, so we are ready," James said. "We have the confidence, having gone to Berlin a couple of years ago and beaten them 2-1.

"It's another football match, but obviously there will be a lot of external references and historical references," James added. "But for us, it's a game against a decent outfit and we have to win to progress."

James has not conceded a goal in two games since he won back his place from Robert Green, who blundered in a 1-1 draw against the United States by fumbling a shot from Clint Dempsey. England had a rocky passage into the second round, but Germany coach Joachim Loew and his players have been full of praise for their upcoming rivals.

"England is always England. It's a team with a lot of fighting spirit and very strong mentally, with incredible experience," Loew said. "The axis with John Terry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney has the highest quality you can find in European football."

Germany defender and captain Philipp Lahm said he was aware of the historical significance of the past games, but that it probably won't play a great role in Sunday's meeting.

"This is year 2010 and these games will not mean very much," he said.

An England victory would open up the chance of facing another traditional World Cup rival in Argentina — and another meeting with Diego Maradona.

Argentina beat England in the 1986 quarterfinals after Maradona scored one goal with his hand and then dribbled through most of the opposing team to add a brilliant second.

England also lost a penalty shootout to Argentina in 1998, but beat the South American team 1-0 in a group game in 2002.

"If you look at the potential road to the final, the idea of beating Germany is romantic and it's an achievable goal," James said. "And it will bring on another match which will have its own historical significance."