In what is always an exciting match-up, England beat Germany at the Olympia Stadion in Berlin by a final score of 3-2 after being down 2 goals to nil earlier in the match.
In the early going, both teams played very aggressively and fast, much to the enjoyment of the supporters in the stands. After some back and forth action, Germany looked to have netted the opener in the 27th minute when Mario Gomez found the back of the net after being played in behind the defense by Sami Kedhira. Unfortunately for Gomez, the linesman (wrongfully) called him off-sides, denying him his first goal for Germany since he scored two vs the Netherlands at the 2012 Euros.
In the 45th minute, Toni Kroos finally did score the opening goal, finding the back of the net from outside the box with a sublime left-footed shot into the bottom corner. Unfortunately, England goalkeeper Jack Butland injured himself on the play before the goal (which may have played a part in Kroos scoring), and had to be carried off the field. Scans showed that the 23-year-old shot stopper fractured his ankle, effectively ruling him out of the Euro.
Today's scan revealed I've fractured my ankle, absolutely devasted! I'll be doing everything I can to get back fit as soon as I can!— Jack Butland (@JackButland_One) March 27, 2016
We wish him all the best in his recovery!
After the break, Mats Hummels made way for 20-year-old Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah, making his first apperance for Jogi Löws squad. In the 57th minute, Mario Gomez got his goal when he headed in a cross from Sami Khedira to make it 2-0 to Germany. Four minutes later, after an England corner found Harry Kane, the Spurs striker turned with the ball and blew shot into the far corner through Emre Cans legs to make the score 2-1. In the 71st minute, Jamie Vardy came on to replace Danny Welbeck and waited very little to make his impact felt. After a low cross from Nathaniel Clyne, Vardy superbly flicked the ball with his heal past Neuer and the nearest defender Antonio Rüdiger.
It looked as though the game was going to end in a tie when Eric Dier headed home a corner from Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson in the 91st minute. The goal really showed the inexperience of the then German back line, as Dier was wide open in the box and had very little trouble heading the ball into the back of the net.
The loss for Germany marks their first on home soil since they lost to the USA on June 10th of last year. Both teams play again on Tuesday, March 29th with Germany taking on Italy at the Allianz Arena in Munich and England playing hosts to the Netherlands at Wembley.
1. Emre Can at right-back
Can played fairly well at right back for most of the game, getting forward a decent amount and even preventing a great Danny Welbeck chance late in the first half. He did have some defensive lapses at times, but those seemed more due to inexperience than an inability to play the position. A decent game for someone trying to lock down a Euro 2016 spot.
2. Dele Alli is fun to watch
Dele Alli, who was linked with a move to Bayern a year and a half ago, is very fun to watch and looks to have a very bright future both at the club, and international levels. The 19-year-old Tottenham midfielder was very active in possession and almost found the back of the net twice, but was denied by Neuer both times. Its a shame nothing more came of those rumors, as he would've been a great young addition to our midfield.
3. Mario Gomez
Mario Gomez, Mario Gomez, Mario Gomez. Mario Gomez, when used properly, is still a very effective striker and player to have in your squad. His header in the second half was beautifully placed, and his wrongfully disallowed goal came after a perfectly timed run in behind the defense. If he can keep up his good form for the rest of the season, he could be the front runner for the striker job at the Euro.
4. Bayern players did...very little
Thomas Müller played 75 minutes on Saturday but he may as well have not played at all, as he was barely noticeable on the right hand side. He was barely involved in play at all, and when he was, he rarely did anything that was meaningful/impactful. Manuel Neuer on the other hand played pretty well between the sticks, making a number of fine saves to deny England players goals.
5. Not a good game, but who cares?
The ESPN commentators were unbearable to listen to, making this loss and German team sound much, much worse than they actually are. They're continuous praise of a mediocre English side was irritating, as they seemingly couldn't find anything bad to point out about the team, even while they were down 2 (should've been 3) to nil . On the other hand, they really couldn't find anything good to say about the Germans. Every compliment came with a "but," which, as a listener, was extremely bothersome to sit through.
Over the next several days, analysts and fans alike will question Germanys ability to defend, but the reality of it is that the last 45 minutes of the game, Germany played with a back line of Hector-Tah-Rüdiger-Can, and they gave up three bad goals. But the commentators conveniently decided not to mention that, instead focusing on the class of Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, and Dele Alli.
Not to take anything away from those three attackers, but if that is the German back line come July, things have gone terribly, terribly awry for Germany. Do they concede those three goals in 30 minutes with the Hummels and Boateng in the back line? Or with thee-quarters of their World Cup defensive line (Höwedes, Hummels, Boateng)? I'd like to believe not. There is very little doubt in my mind that a full strength German team beats this English team. Slot Ilkay Gündogan into that midfield and remove two inexperienced center-backs in Jonathan Tah and Antinio Rüdiger and this second half plays out very differently.