England vs Germany is always a big game with such a long footballing history between the two sides at international tournaments. Gary Lineker famously said that “football is a simple game: twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
He was referring to the fact England had not beaten Germany for so many years, with the last time it had happened at a major tournament being the 1966 final. But they overcame the challenge last night with a 2-0 wn in the Euros round of 16.
It was a game of few chances with England defending so well, and you could see that Southgate had set up to not concede and grab a goal or two at the other end to see the match out. England played five at the back with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in front, and the tactics worked with Phillips winning the ball 11 times in the game to snub the german attacks.
Germany did get their chances in the end, and if Muller or Werner had scored their big chances the game could have looked totally different. Pickford made a couple of great saves too and will be thrilled that he is yet to concede a goal at the tournament after four games.
Grealish made all the difference going forward for England when he came on, with his creativity opening up the game and his play lead up to the first goal, and he assisted the second. That’s exactly what you want from your creative players so Southgate couldn’t be happier with his impact.
Sterling also got his goal again and is now in the race for the golden boot along with Schick and Lukaku who are all trying to top Ronaldo’s five now that he is out of the competition. You can clearly see that this is the tournament he has been waiting for and he’s pushing to get to his best.
Kane is off the mark with his first goal of the tournament too, and that will be a big confidence boost as he heads into the next round.
Next England will face Ukraine and while there is no such thing as an easy game at this tournament, England will go into the game with confidence. There were games in the group stages where I thought England were taking too long to finish the game off, and I worried their energy might drop off like it did for Holland against Czech Republic. But this was not the case and this game was different.
You will likely see similar tactics with England protecting their goal and trying to snatch a goal through a counter-attack or set-piece. We’ve seen a few times this tournament that there can be some surprises, and you don’t have to look further than France vs Switzerland to know anything can happen.
This is definitely England’s time to shine because of the way they are set up, and they’ve knocked out one of the big nations now. It could easily be England going all the way and we might see Belgium do the same thing to get to the final. Belgium have so much talent in their team and England have silenced the doubters and can win if Southgate keeps making his tactics work, where England are such a hard team to score against. #mmlove