New DelhiOne hour agoAuthor: Sundar Saktawat
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England team players celebrating after winning the match.
England and Germany have historically had a long rivalry on the football field. The 1966 World Cup Final was played between England and Germany (erstwhile West Germany) at Wembley, where the Euro Cup qualifiers were played on Tuesday evening. The 1966 final was won by England, but since then they have not won any major international tournament.
After this Germany got many opportunities to take revenge on England. In the 1990 World Cup semi-final, Germany defeated England in a penalty shootout. In that match, the stray penalty of Chris Waddle of England was infamous. In the knockout match of the 2010 World Cup, Germany defeated England 4-1. Thomas Müller scored two goals in that match, who missed a golden opportunity to equalize last evening.
In the 1996 Euro Cup semi-finals, there was an England-Germany clash, then the match went to a penalty shootout and then England lost. In that match both the teams had committed five penalties each, but England’s team missed the sixth penalty.
Do you know where that match was being played? At the same Wembley Stadium. And do you know what was the name of the England player who missed the deciding penalty? Gareth Southgate. The same Gareth Southgate – who is England’s coach today – led England to defeat Germany in yet another Euro Cup knockout match at Wembley after 25 years and managed to bury the ghosts of the past to some extent, on the wounds of the past. Healed to some extent.
Prince William enjoyed the match with the family.
England played a solid tactical game, as do the big teams in the knockout rounds of any major tournament. She doesn’t open her cards, follows a wait-and-see policy, keeps her front, doesn’t allow herself to make mistakes. There was one interesting thing in the starting XI of both the teams. Both fed three players instead of four in defense and four instead of three in midfield, stipulating that the game would be played man-to-man in midfield. England had a 3-4-3 formation, Germany played a slightly modified 3-4-2-1 – meaning Germany had two wingers and one centre-forward in the front line compared to England’s three forwards. Landed, but the fencing of midfield and defense was the same.
There was one more thing worth noting in the starting XI of both the teams. Almost the entire England team (10 out of 11) was adorned with players from the English Premier League, with most players from Manchester United and Manchester City. This was not the case with Germany. Its team was not only made up of players from the Bundesliga (German league). His central midfielder Toni Kroos was the star of the Spanish league.
There were three Premier League players playing for Germany on the pitch. Not only the Premier League, but Chelsea – Werner, Havertz and Rudiger. In the Champions League final played between Chelsea and Manchester City about a month and a half ago, these three players were in the starting XI. You could say that Germany was in better shape on the field because of these players—who had played the entire season in England—but in football such equations often fail.
Football fans come out of Wembley Arena after watching the match.
Half-time left at zero-zero. Both the teams made some moves but did not dare to attack all out. In the second half, Gareth Southgate fielded fan-favourite Jack Grealish. Grealish plays for Aston-Villa and is beloved by English supporters for his attacking approach in the left-flank. In this same Euro 2020, he gave an assist against the Czech Republic. The first goal of the game would be credited to a fine move from Raheem Sterling, who created an opportunity in midfield with his quickness in the 75th minute, a fine centre-forward finish on Luke Shaw’s cross. England took the psychological edge. Before scoring the goal, Rahim took a step back by stopping his run so that he would not be declared offside. A good striker in football isn’t one who runs very fast and hits very hard, but one who moves at a measured pace, always onside, passes the ball in the right direction with the right weight, and Create scoring opportunities.
Like life, there are many abstractions in football, in which coincidences dominate. For example, what would have happened if Thomas Mueller had seized the golden opportunity soon after and equalized it? Of course, the whole game would have changed. Last day we saw the picture of the game changing after equalizer goals. But Muller missed. Harry Kane didn’t miss out though. He once again scored a header goal in the 86th minute with a fine centre-forward move. Name of the player who gave him the cross from the left flank? Needless to say – Jack Grealish. Gareth Southgate would like to congratulate himself for this.
The last two world-winning teams, including the last Euro Cup champions, have departed from the tournament. England has reached the last eight. She has never won the Euro Cup and has not even reached the Euro semifinals since 1996. In the 2018 World Cup, England reached the semi-finals, their best ranking since 1990 – but the title victory was far from them and during this time they had an entire golden generation – Owen, Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes, Rooney. – It has come and gone. Whenever a major tournament starts, in England they say – it’s coming home. That is, the title is now coming back home. I don’t know whether he says this with confidence or with a question mark whether the title will really come back home this year? England can believe that luck is on their side, as the draw going on after that can be said to be relatively easy. After defeating Germany, Momentum is well with him now. Who knows, really, it’s finally coming home.