Gareth Southgate finally paid his debt last night. In the daunting game against Germany in the round of 16, the England boss who was once blamed for their loss in EURO 1996 semifinal against Die Mannschaft managed to guide his team to end the likely curse. They dismantled Thomas Muller and Co 2-0 in Wembley. The Three Lions were under pressure most of the time at the first half and at the beginning of the second half with very few decent chances. They focused on piling up players for their defensive stance to prevent Germany from penetrating their backline or crossing the ball to the mouth of their goal. As Jack Grealish was brought on, the wind of change was on their side. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring and the Aston Villa man provided another assist for Harry Kane’s first goal in the tournament. It was their third victory of Germany in the major tournament after World Cup 1996 and EURO 2000.
England vs Germany 2-0
Goals: Raheem Sterling (75), Harry Kane (86)
England: Jordan Pickford – Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker – Kieran Trippier, Kalvin Phillips, Luke Shaw, Declan Rice (Jordan Henderson 88) – Bukayo Saka (Jack Grealish 69), Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling.
Germany: Manuel Neuer – Matts Hummels, Mathias Ginter (Emre Can 87), Antonio Rudiger – Leon Goretzka, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Robin Gosens (Leroy Sane 87) – Thomas Muller (Jamal Musiala 91), Timo Werner (Serge Gnabry 68), Kai Havertz
Apparently, Der Panzer is not the only favourite which has to leave the tournament too early. Their contenders in the group of death, the reigning champions, Portugal, and the world cup 2018 winner, France ousted too soon. Fernando Santos’ men were unable to break the deadlock and suffered a 0-1 loss from Belgium through a single goal of Thorgan Hazard. CR7’s hope to extend his goal scoring record has to end. Meanwhile, Les Blues dramatically was beaten 4-5 by Switzerland in penalties. Didier Deschamps’ men could only muster a 3-3 draw in 120 minutes. Karim Benzema’s brace and Paul Pogba’s goal from a long range shot were responded by Haris Seferovic’s brace and Mario Gavrancic’s goal. In the penalties, Kylian Mbappe shockingly was the only failed executor. It was a bitter loss for Antoine Griezmann and Co who were hopeful to revive the memory of EURO 2000 when they were able to win the regional trophy after clinching the world cup title two years earlier. Another high profile team which was expected to go further, Netherlands, was thumped by Czech Rep. De Oranje’s campaign ended in a catastrophe after their impressive display at the group stage.
At the quarter finals, there are still four favourites. Two of which, Belgium and Italy, will be squaring off for one spot in the semifinal. The remaining two, Spain and England will be facing off tricky opposition. La Furia Roja is up against the giant killer Switzerland while The Three Lions are meeting Ukraine. One last place will be fought for by two dark horses, Czech Rep and Denmark.