ROOKIE ENGLAND DESERVE DRAW
World Champions Germany lost their seven-match winning streak as the most inexperienced England line-up since 1980 forced a goalless draw at a packed Wembley. Five players debuted for England, including man-of-the-match Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
After the injury list never stopped, Gareth Southgate was forced into naming three debutants in his starting line-up for the prestige friendly at Wembley. Everton’s impressive young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was handed his first cap. Joining him were Chelsea loanees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham, this season at Crystal Palace and Swansea City respectively. Eric Dier captained the Three Lions for the first time, and left-back Danny Rose made a welcome comeback from a lengthy spell out. Germany’s line-up included Premier League stars Antonio Rüdiger, Mesut Özil and Manchester City midfield duo İlkay Gündoğan and Leroy Sané.
After a booming rendition of The Last Post, Germany kicked off. There was instantly a shaky moment at the back for England, with defender Harry Maguire’s dreadful back-pass forcing Jordan Pickford into a first-minute save, before England countered at pace. Danny Rose’s left-wing ball forward was inch-perfect for the ever-eager Jamie Vardy. Leicester City’s striker played a testing ball across which travelled through a bunch of players, before right- back Kieran Trippier fired into the side-netting and the chance was gone. Both sides could have grabbed an incredibly early goal.
Germany, debuting their new World Cup kit [England were in their blue away kit], then had two clear chances. Manchester City livewire Sané volleyed powerfully into the side-netting, before crashing a long-range effort off the underside of the crossbar just ten minutes later. FIFA’s highest ranked side were showing glimpses of real quality. England were living life on the edge just a minute later as Jordan Pickford saved superbly down to his left from Timo Werner, before Phil Jones headed off the line from Sané’s rebound. Southgate’s men were greeted with goal-like applause when Julian Draxler blazed over and The Three Lions had come away unscathed.
Phil Jones, England’s most senior player on the field with twenty-four caps, was taken off injured, leading to another England debut – young Joe Gomez the Liverpool defender replaced him. Timo Werner missed a carbon-copy of his first chance, as Pickford got down superbly to save again as Germany impressed. England needed to recover and did. Harry Maguire found debutant Tammy Abraham in the box, who twisted and turned but whose blocked shot bounced wide. England were in again when a beautifully floated ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek landed in front of Jamie Vardy. But the forward got his dink over the goalkeeper all wrong, and the German defenders averted the danger. England were in a true contest for the first time in a long while, but at half-time it was goalless.
England were out the blocks quickly in the second period, and it was then that they created their only shot on goal. Abraham found Trippier well, whose cross into the box was even better. Vardy waited and headed downwards well. Goalkeepers have struggled with bounces since time began, but Marc-André ter Stegen did not – producing an unlikely save as he clawed the ball from off his line. England were in again with an equally lovely move just before the hour mark. Trippier and Loftus-Cheek were involved before captain Eric Dier’s ball across goal was excellently scooped over by Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels.
The game seemed to die as the curse of the international friendly substitutions came into play. Burnley midfielder Jack Cork made his debut, and there were appearances for Kyle Walker, Ryan Bertrand, Jesse Lingard and young Marcus Rashford too. Joachim Löw introduced Liverpool’s Emre Can amongst others, as he to tried to force a victory. With the very last kick of the game, substitute Jesse Lingard blasted just over from a Rashford free-kick knocked down by Harry Maguire. The whistle blew and an open and intriguing affair was brought to a close. It ended England 0-0 Germany.
Gareth Southgate has said he may add members to his squad for Tuesday’s match with Brazil. Neymar both scored and missed penalties as they beat Japan 3-1 in France earlier today. This will be England’s final match before the World Cup draw in December.