Germany Relive 1966 Tragedy as England Claim Quarter-Finals Spot

England versus Germany is one of the biggest derbies in international football. And, tonight, just like too scraggy boxers in a ring, the teams found themselves with nothing left to hide behind. England won! And, if 1966, 1990, or 1996 are any indicators, this will be a nation-uniting result. Meanwhile, Germany joined the gallery of world-class teams who’ve already left the Euro 2020 tournament.

What England fans feared regarding Gareth Southgate’s choice of tactics turned out to be only half-true. This time the Three Lions lined up in a 3-4-3 that easily morphed into a back five when needed. Jack Grealish did not get to start much to the public’s chagrin, but Bukayo Saka did.

Meanwhile, Germany both played well and failed while using, essentially, the same game plan. Tonight the team started in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Kai Havertz and Thomas Muller shadowed lone striker Timo Werner. Robin Gosens and Joshua Kimmich offered the Germans additional width. Leon Goretka replaced Ilkay Gundogan in the center of the team’s defense.

Yesterday may have been one of the greatest days in international football’s recent history. This, it seems, hasn’t created an immediate reaction with the Germans or the English. In the first half, the two teams played a sensible sort of football, with both Joachim Low and Southgate hoping this would be enough to sneak them through.

It was a case of the typical first 20-minutes of English dominance as the game began. Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire had the first goal opportunities of the game.

Germany then began taking charge of possession albeit this did not result in a high number of chances. Timo Werner missed a great opportunity in the 31st minute. The Chelsea forward’s run into the area found him with only Jordan Pickford to beat. The English goalie saved. This will do little to change English supporters’ attitude about his prowess in front of goal.

Harry Kane enjoyed the biggest opportunity of the match in the final moments of the first half. Sterling’s pressing was rewarded when he won the ball back in a dangerous area. He passed to Kane who tried to dribble past Manuel Neuer but was unable to beat the keeper.

Wembley was sent into a mess of rapturous noise in the 75th minute as Southgate’s protegee Raheem Sterling managed to open the scoring. The goal came courtesy of a well-worked drill in which Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, and Luke Shaw were involved.

Not for the first time in this tournament, the Germans were left scrambling for an equalizer. Muller got his chance in the 80th minute and will have only himself to blame after failing to find the net after his forward run left him with Pickford as his sole opponent.

England have never been happier than when playing Germany at Wembley. It was true in 1966, and it’s true today. In the 85th minute, Jack Grealish’s cross was met by Karry Kane. The Spurs captain headed it for 2-0 and the stadium went into full-blown delirium.

Low’s team desperately threw themselves into attack. This time though, Southgate’s rigorous and at times unexciting defensive work paid dividends.

This was likely the last match in charge for Joachim Low as Germany manager. The tactician has achieved a lot. His greatest success is winning the World Cup in 2014, but that’s not his only contribution to German football. Die Mannschaft still have a good selection of players from which to choose. A large overhaul will be needed though.

England, on the other hand, are having their moment in the spotlight. It’s overdue. They’ve defeated at least two world-class teams in the Euro so far, but haven’t proved themselves stylistically. With massive fan support on their side though, there’s no telling how far Southgate’s men can go.



June 29, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Round of 16

SCORERS: 76′ Sterling, 86′ Kane

ENGLAND (3-4-3): Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Rice (88′ Henderson), Phillips, Shaw; Saka (68′ Grealish), Kane, Sterling (Johnstone, Ramsdale, Bellingham, Coady, Foden, James, Mings, Mount, Rashford, Sancho) Coach: Southgate
GERMANY (3-4-2-1): Neuer, Ginter (88′ Emre Can), Hummels, Rüdiger; Kimmich, Goretzka, Kroos, Gosens (88′ Sane); Havertz, Müller (91′ Musiala); Werner (68′ Gnabry) (Leno, Trapp, Koch, Neuhaus, Sule, Volland, Gundogan, Halstenberg) Coach: Low

REFEREE: Makkelie (Netherlands)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Rice, Phillips, Maguire (E), Ginter, Gosens (G); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 4′