The international football powerhouses have faced their own unique struggles, but the German men especially have not played like themselves this tournament. Many felt they were not seeing the team that had once utterly crushed Brazil 7-1 when the Germans struggled to reach a draw against Hungary just last week. The former 2014 FIFA World Cup champions finally caved to the Three Lions when they met today.
The game remained scoreless long into the match. But all that changed after half time, when a relay between Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Luke Shaw made its way back to Sterling, who touched the ball in for England’s first goal, and his third of the tournament.
The hosts then scored their second goal with less than five minutes left when Jack Grealish crossed the ball to team captain Kane, who executed a perfect header into the back of Germany’s net.
England forges a new legacy with the Euro 2020
England, headed by coach Gareth Southgate, have a 55 year dry spell when it comes to winning football tournaments, having last won at the 1966 World Cup. The same could not be said about their adversaries, who won the World Cup as recently as 2014, and have won the Euro more than any other nation, with trophies from 1972, 1980 and 1992. There is more than an asymmetry in tournament success here, though: Germany has beaten the English four times, in 1970, 1990, 1996, and 2010. In 1996 they sent England home in the Euro semifinals.
Southgate, speaking about the German squad, acknowledged their stature in international football, especially the success of their head coach, Joachim Low: “We’re playing a team with four World Cup winners, a manager whose had an incredible career — I didn’t have the chance to congratulate him earlier because I know tonight will be a difficult night — but he’s had an incredible career with Germany and I have huge respect for what’s he’s done.”
Southgate then expanded on what he saw as the strength of his new generation of English stars: “We know that [Toni] Kroos would organise the game and [Mats] Hummels, we would have to be patient. So what pleased me the most was that we’ll always have passion and heart, but we played with brains today as well and we pressed at the right moments. We wanted to be man-for-man aggressive in our pressure, the wing-backs did that well and set the tone. The forward picked the right moments to go and stay and then we’ve found a nice balance of being brave with the ball to keep possession in our own half at times and also go quickly and counter. That was a real step forward for us.”