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Here at Wembley, Gareth Southgate was in for a more spectacular ending, until the goalkeeper he might never pick again landed a shot, although from the depths of the black hole that at times engulfed England that evening, it ended like this as if some kind of revival.
Maybe southern gaitism won’t last longer than Qatar 2022 and the World Cup final, which already looks like it could be anything for these players and this coach – but they had it nonetheless. A three-goal comeback in 12 minutes in the second half against Germany in front of Wembley fans who never turned against their team. Whatever happened before this deadly summer and autumn, Southgate players have proven themselves capable of something amazing and quite a bit of fun.
Of course there were mistakes.. Last but not least, it was Nick Pope’s shot that helped Kai Havertz score the second goal of the night to equalize. Harry Maguire stumbled at decisive moments Again, a footballer who is just struggling at the moment, but many of these things Southgate already knew in his heart. What he needed to see again from his players is the drive that could turn a match on its head and confuse the expectations of those who say this England squad is over before this World Cup even starts.
He achieved this with a brilliant comeback under the guidance of his two substitutes, Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount, who came out shortly before Germany took a two-goal lead. After Luke Shaw’s first goal and then Mount’s beautiful second on an assist from Saki, Harry Kane’s penalty knocked England out with seven minutes to go. It was as if the crowd was waiting for them, resisting the chance to boo Southgate or Maguire. Instead, once England started playing at Wembley they picked up where they left off in March when that team was still winning games.
This did not change when England inevitably failed to hold the lead. They’re vulnerable, that’s clear, but they’ve never committed the greatest crime of being boring. Defensively, they played with five defenders for most of the night and lost John Stones to an injury that could leave Qatar with a devastating legacy. However, for a short time it was like England succeeding, taking risks and turning the game around.
In June, at Molineux’s match against Hungary, home fans unleashed their fury on Southgate before the worst of the damage was done. However, this time he was filled with stunned patience. It was not an outstanding German team and they took the lead with a couple of English blunders. The 19-year-old Jamal Musiala, who lost in the England youth teams, was Germany’s best player, and when he finished the game 2-2, Germany was less dangerous without him.
Eric Dier’s steady return to international football was one of the small triumphs of this break. In addition, Southgate seemed to be reassured by the crowd. He was right that his team had more chances in the first half and failed to convert them. During this period, England was essentially two separate parts again, with seven men and the goalkeeper defending deeper and deeper, and then three attackers trying to take them forward.
The trident of Kane, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling created chances: a cross from Foden, who was inexplicably played behind Kane, and an accurate pass to Shaw Sterling, who did not finish. The attacking trio often act in isolation, and the formation does not allow a second wave of attack that can overwhelm the enemy. England’s biggest problem was that goalkeeper Pope had the ball and Germany felt it too, hunting him down at every opportunity.
In the absence of the playmaker midfielder that Southgate often talks about with wistfulness, Jude Bellingham put in a fine performance to lead his team forward. The two German goals caused trouble, which Southgate later talked about a lot, even saying that it was the kind of experience his team needed. “There will be pressure in the tournament,” he reflected, “it can be avoided, but it will be.”
It came ten minutes before the start of the hour when Ware correctly directed Dutch referee Danny McKeeley to the monitor just six minutes later to reflect once more on his leniency towards Maguire’s lunge at Musiala in the area. The incapacitated Manchester United player casually passed the ball to the young German, only to find the ball had slipped through his legs and then fouled.
In the moments after Ilkay Gundogan scored a confident penalty, England hesitated. As Maguire lost the ball in German territory, substitute Timo Werner came on the left and Havertz prudently missed the England penalty area, which was filled with players. He received the ball in space and landed a beautiful left foot around Pope and out of his stance. That was the pressure. Southgate later talked about how his players reacted in the days leading up to the game to team meetings away from staff and what he saw as strong leadership from senior players.
There was strength of character in that darkest of moments, and the Wembley fans played their part. Southgate joked that Shaw’s back post volley when Germany ran out of cover men reminded players and fans what it was like to score a goal. Since then, the old desire to beat the old opponent at Wembley has taken over. There was a kick from Saki that found Mount, and a brilliant first time right foot on the run. The third was another interference from War from a Niko Schlotterbeck lunge at Bellingham and Kane converted a penalty.
England should have won at 3-2, but Pope landed a direct hit on substitute Serge Gnabry and Havertz landed his second. England are still six games without a win, their worst record since 1993, but no matter what: it felt like something.
England 3 Germany 3: how it was
Where does he leave Gareth?
Lucky General? Can you inspire? Tactically hopeless? If we were to read the racing form, we might call it a confused race. In fairness, it must be said that England showed not only a bottle, but also individual howler monkeys. Apparently Pope and Maguire won’t be doing this every match, right? Right guys? Who knows. Personally, I think Gareth’s real problem is that he wants to play defensively, but England are only really good when they have the chance. In any case, I’ll leave it up to the experts, and Sam Wallace’s report will appear in full above. From me, Alan Tyers and the entire Telegraph Sport team, thank you for subscribing and see you in the next issue.
Here’s Jason Burt on Harry Maguire
Jason writes: “For Gareth Southgate, this was the performance he desperately didn’t need from Harry Maguire, even if Return in the style of Jude Bellingham the events that followed brought England to a draw. Pinning his hopes on the centre-back, Southgate will no doubt look the other way as he analyzes Maguire’s role in assisting two goals against Germany and how shockingly his confidence has been shattered.”
Huge penalty from Harry Kane
Here is Oliver Brown
Oliver writes: “The farewell to the World Cup is generally a free, carefree event, marked by England’s freestyle victory over carefully selected cannon fodder in the heat of summer. destructive power of Qatar 2022, combined with a six-month catalog of the hosts’ tactical ineptness, ensured this foreplay felt different. Autumn leaves turn brown relegation scar from the League of Nations was still damp, and the furious backlash from the fans left Gareth Southgate in desperate need of a breather. He rarely imagined it would be delivered amid such glorious chaos.”
on the BBC. Eliminate individual mistakes and you have a chance to win. We definitely have a chance in Qatar.
“Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka came in and made a difference. They have to be given credit because you can be tense and annoyed when you get on stage. Mason Mount gave the coach food for thought. That’s the quality he brings.”
“As a group, they came together this week. Difficult period. Have grown up. You will always face pressure.”
He compares it favorably as a learning experience to playing ten-man in the Ivory Coast and aiming for an easy win. This is a fair point, I would say.
“We have learned a lot this week. A couple of mistakes cost us goals today, but I focused on the fact that they played with amazing spirit and showed confidence that we haven’t shown in the last few games. I think the crowd could see it and they climbed it.”
More reactions from around the football world
David James: “What a fantastic match between England and Germany. Six goals and brilliant moments. The referee and the use of VAR were great too.”
Joe Cole: “The result was not so important. This performance gives us something to hold on to and be confident in Qatar.”
For those who follow him
This concludes the League of Nations group. England finished bottom of the league with four teams and were relegated. Hungary, which was the group’s history, lost to Italy, who took them to the top spot and reached the final the following year. Where they can win a lovely set of cutlery and take part in a prize draw.
Joe Cole on Channel 4
“The thing is, Harry Maguire has…