Steven Gerrard will lead England out in Tuesday's friendly against Germany having insisted the current national team is stronger and better balanced than the side overwhelmed so comprehensively by the Germans in Bloemfontein at the 2010 World Cup.
The Liverpool midfielder is one of three survivors, alongside Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney, from the starting line-up at Free State Stadium three years ago who will play at Wembley, where England have not prevailed in the fixture since 1975. Roy Hodgson will select Chris Smalling at centre-half, Tom Cleverley in midfield and Adam Lallana on the left as he continues to audition prospective players for next summer's tournament in Brazil, with the Germans, too, expected to experiment with their team.
This will be the first meeting of the sides since that infamous collision in Free State, where Fabio Capello's England endured the frustration of seeing Frank Lampard's "equalising goal" waved away and were ultimately, and ruthlessly, unpicked on the counter-attack. Asked if the current team are better than the one thrashed that day, Gerrard, who will draw level with Bobby Moore on 108 caps, said: "I'd say we are and the reason I feel that is that, if we were to meet Germany tomorrow in a World Cup, I don't think we'd leave the pitch having been beaten 4-1.
"I do feel we are a lot stronger. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad at the moment. We are all moving forward and improving all the time. I look back to the Chile result last Friday and I came away from that game feeling different from a lot of people: I'm really confident that, if we were to meet Chile further on into a World Cup competition, we would have the players at full strength to go and beat them.
"What happened in 2001 [when England won a World Cup qualifier 5-1 in Munich] and 2010 is not going to have any impact on the result tomorrow. It's a different game. I suppose, if you look at how they've performed in recent tournaments and where they're ranked [No2 in the world, according to Fifa], then maybe we are slight underdogs. But, if you look at both squads and starting XIs, I wouldn't say huge underdogs. This is a game all the players are desperate to win and bounce back from the Chile performance."
Hodgson will make nine changes from that defeat, with only Lallana – the most impressive of a trio of debutants on Friday – and Rooney retained. Joe Hart, out of favour at Manchester City, will play his first match in over three weeks while Cleverley's start will be his first since the friendly victory over Scotland in August. Daniel Sturridge, with 23 goals in 33 games for club and country this calendar year, will feature despite being unable to complete training at London Colney on Monday as he continues to be hampered by a thigh complaint.
The forward's discomfort is a legacy of a disrupted pre-season – he was injured in the draw with the Republic of Ireland at the end of last term – and requires careful monitoring, particularly with Liverpool's derby against Everton on Saturday. Yet Hodgson suggested he had never expected the 24-year-old to complete the last session before the Germany fixture.
"It's not been a great problem for Liverpool," said the England manager. "The injury occurred two and a half weeks ago and I'm entitled to think and believe the injury is no worse than it was when he last played for Liverpool against Fulham. The doctors tell me he's fit enough to play but it won't be 90 minutes. I've got Rickie Lambert, who was injured and couldn't play on Friday, who I want to see on the field.
"I intend to use this game like I used the Chile game, to 'air' this squad. Hopefully the bulk of the players will, at some stage, get the chance to get on the field and get a cap and show what they can do. So, when March comes around, if I then say, 'This is my squad' and there aren't people in that squad who've maybe been there for a while, they won't be able to turn round and say: 'You had me in the squad but never even gave me the chance to show what I can do.'"
The Everton teenager Ross Barkley is expected to earn a third cap at some stage, most likely as a No10 playing off either Rooney or Lambert, while even Gerrard may not complete the full 90 minutes. The captain, who has started every Premier League game this season, has been carrying a hip problem over recent weeks and underwent an injection last week as part of an established programme of treatment and rehabilitation. The injections help support the ligaments in the hip.
"I have them every couple of years," added Gerrard. "My game-return when I had them two years ago – I surprised myself really, so I'm hoping I can get the same game-return from this set I've had. I wouldn't have them if I didn't feel any benefit from them. The reason I went in for these recently is because I've felt so good physically over the last couple of years."