ENGLAND SCORED TWICE TOO LATE TO END A 55-YEAR WAITING PERIOD TO WIN THE KNOCKOUT WITH GERMANY AT WEMBLEY TO REACH THE EURO 2020 QUARTER-FINALS.
Gareth Southgate’s team worked hard to get the victory statement that England so often lacks. And it was their tournament talisman, Raheem Sterling, who made the biggest difference in the game.
Sterling, who scored the winning goals against Croatia and the Czech Republic in the group stage, directed a cross from Luke Shaw 75 minutes later to send England fans, including over 40,000 inside Wembley Stadium, wild.
The victory was sealed in the final four minutes when captain Harry Kane, who had struggled to influence the game yet again, headed in from substitute Jack Grealish’s perfect delivery for his first Euro 2020 goal.
England was also grateful for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s ingenuity, as he has yet to concede a goal in the competition and has made crucial saves from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in each half. Simultaneously, Thomas Muller blew a good chance to equalize before Kane’s strike.
England will now face Ukraine in the quarter-finals of the Rome Cup on Saturday after the Ukrainians defeated Sweden in the final minute of extra time.
The most important result for Southgate and England.
Southgate’s team selection raised eyebrows when he chose to leave the creative talents of Grealish and Phil Foden on the bench. And he showed a lot of faith in Arsenal’s youngster Bukayo Saka by starting him after his excellent performance against the Czechs.
Saka was excellent, providing the first spark when England was struggling, and Grealish provided an important X when he came off the bench to help bring Germany down eventually.
The final whistle scenes demonstrate how significant this achievement is for Southgate and England. Digging deep and surviving difficult moments to defeat old foes who frequently triumph. And this could be the most significant victory of Southgate’s tenure.
The last 16 was the round that put England in jeopardy throughout the tournament, knowing that defeating their team could mean facing the always-dangerous Germany, World Cup winners France, or European champions Portugal.
Hungary, a Group F minnow, nearly caused a major upset in the football world. Finally, Germany confronted them, as did Southgate, who must be sick of watching replays of his penalty miss against them in the Euro 96 semi-final. So now he has a good memory to cherish from this match, as well as a potentially good path forward in this tournament.
When facing Ukraine, England will be confident but insecure. And France’s unexpected departure to Switzerland demonstrates that no one can be underestimated. However, this victory over these opponents will be extremely valuable psychologically as England moves forward.
Kane is finally useful.
How significant will Kane’s second goal be for Southgate and England’s chances of winning Euro 2020?
Kane also considered the dignity of his world-class personality as he worked to play a significant role as tensions rose around Wembley Stadium. And, after failing to capitalize on a scramble in first-half injury time, cutting a forlorn figure as he tried in vain to make his mark.
At one point, it appeared that he would have to emerge injured, but he recovered. And his performance in the final 15 minutes could be a watershed moment for a striker trusted by his manager.
Kane also contributed to the first goal, linking up with Grealish and Shaw before Sterling finished the job. But the big moment came with the goal, which effectively ended the game.
Grealish entered with confidence and sent the right cross for Kane to head home from six yards out.
His expression was a mix of joy and relaxation, as was the delight of his colleagues.
If this is the game in which England’s captain finally wakes up, everyone in the camp believes Kane will be ready and shooting by the end of Euro 2020.
Pickford and Maguire make an impression on England.
England’s defense has been called into question ahead of Euro 2020, with Manchester United captain Harry Maguire out with an injury and Southgate still figuring out his best personnel.
Here, he switched to a three-man defense with Kieran Trippier and Shaw as defenders. And it worked, as England kept their fourth clean sheet of the tournament to maintain their unblemished record in this tournament.
And at the heart of it all has been a rejuvenated goalkeeper, Pickford, who has excelled in Everton’s form to demonstrate why Southgate’s faith has never wavered.
Pickford made numerous saves throughout the tournament, but his best came in the first half when he ran from his line to stop Timo Werner. Later, he displayed great agility to turn Havertz’s uphill drive with the scoreline empty.
Maguire was another key figure who demonstrated why Southgate regarded him as someone on whom he could always rely.
He has shown great strength alongside John Stones while adding extra size to set-pieces and his ability to pull the ball out of defense now that he has fully recovered from an ankle injury.
These have been two of Southgate’s biggest assets as he attempts to plan their route through Ukraine.
Germany is entering an new epoch.
Joachim Low’s reign as German coach came to an end after a brilliant career that culminated in victory at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He has taken over as the replacement for Bayern Munich’s Champions League-winning coach Hansi Flick. And this indicates that reconstruction is required.
Germany still has many talented players on its roster, including the elegant Havertz, Joshua Kimmich, and others. However, this may have been the final hit for old stars such as Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, and Muller.
Muller stunned England by taking a 1-0 lead only to see a man who had scored so many goals almost unbelievably steer a low finish inches wide.
He collapsed to the ground in despair, while Sterling exhaled a sigh of relief because it was his mistake that had created this obvious opportunity.
The German will return with a slew of new talent and a good new coach for Flick, but this team needs to be revitalized.
‘We provided people with another day to remember.’
“I’m very happy,” England manager Gareth Southgate said. But I was also looking at the big screen. And I noticed David Seaman up there for my teammates from Euro 96.
“In addition, I cannot change his famous penalty against Germany in the semi-finals.” So it will always be painful, but the good news is that it gives people another day to remember, which we must now do in Rome.
“We talked about bringing happiness to the nation, and here we are this afternoon. The biggest players on the team were present, as were the fans. I remember a great atmosphere at Wembley.”