Chelsea star Eden Hazard takes 'golden generation' dig at England ahead of World Cup

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Eden Hazard stoked Belgium’s rivalry with England ahead of the World Cup by pointing out the failure of the Three Lions’ so-called ‘golden generation’.

Much was expected of England squads of the past, ones that included David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, but success never came.

England’s Group G rivals now have a ‘golden generation’ of their own with Hazard at the forefront alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

Roberto Martinez’s side are favourites to win the group, which also includes Tunisia and Panama, and are a popular pick to lift the trophy, and Hazard recognises the opportunity in front of them.

“We know what we are,” he said in comments reported by several UK national newspapers. “We are good players, we all play in the big games in England, in Italy, and in Spain.

“Ten years or 15 years ago you had this ‘golden generation’ in England but you won nothing. We have a ‘golden generation’ – we just want to win something now.

“Can we be different to England? Maybe, we will see.”

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Germany are not 'clear favourites' for the World Cup, says 1990 winner Thomas Berthold

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Defending champions: Germany

Germany’s 1990 World Cup winner Thomas Berthold has downplayed their favourites tag, placing Brazil, France and Spain ahead of them for this summer’s showpiece.

The defending champions kick-start their defence against Mexico on June 17 with Joachim Low’s side tipped as one of the nations to reign supreme and become the first country to win back-to-back titles since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.

But Berthold, who is the 10th most-capped German at the three World Cups he’s played in, believes his nation are not the clear favourites.

“When you look back through the history of the World Cup, three nations – Brazil, Italy and us – have won 13 titles between them. I don’t think any other team has reached the semi-finals as often as Germany,” he told FIFA.com

World Cup winner: Thomas Berthold (left)

World Cup winner: Thomas Berthold (left)

“And whenever you reach the last four, there are many factors that you can’t account for, particularly when you go toe-to-toe with other top sides.

“We are not the clear favourites. France, Brazil and Spain are all ahead of us and Argentina are more or less the dark horses of the tournament.”

Germany have also been drawn alongside Korea Republic and Sweden and Berthold believes they must top Group F. “They will need to grit their teeth and focus on the knockout stages. They’ll need to give it their all in the group, and after that it’s a matter of ‘go big or go home’.”

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Germany's Mesut Ozil to miss Saudi Arabia friendly after suffering knee injury

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Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil will miss Germany‘s friendly against Saudi Arabia on Friday because of a knee injury, the German Football Association has confirmed.

Ozil, 29, picked up the problem during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Austria, and has been reported to be doubtful for Germany’s opening match of the World Cup on June 17 against Mexico in Moscow.

A statement on the German FA’s official Twitter feed read: “As a precaution, @MesutOzil1088 didn’t take part in final training today, completing running exercises instead. He is out of #GERKSA with a minor bruise to his left knee.”

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