CompetitionsEuro 2020

Wembley rocking as Sterling and Kane fire England through – 5 things we learned

England are into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 after a 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane in the final 15 minutes finally gave the Three Lions a night to enjoy against the old enemy.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the talking points.

Rewriting history

England’s John Stones and Germany's Thomas Muller
England’s John Stones got the better of Thomas Muller and Germany’s frontline (Nick Potts/PA)

The history of England versus Germany weighs heavy on the nation given the heartache of the past, with gut-wrenching defeats at Italia 90, Euro 96 and the 2010 World Cup. But the key message before this game was that this current crop of England players wanted to write their own history and they certainly did that at Wembley. Two goals in the final 15 minutes from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane ensured that the Three Lions beat their old rival for the first time in a knockout tournament since 1966. Football might be coming home.

Kane comes to party

England's Harry Kane
Harry Kane shrugged off criticism to score England’s second (Nick Potts/PA)

Never has a player’s perception turned around as quickly as Harry Kane’s in recent weeks. After winning the Premier League Golden Boot and Playmaker awards he was lauded as one of the best strikers in the world, but after going through the group stage without scoring, people were beginning to question his place in the team. Another frustrating match looked on the cards as the Tottenham man squandered a golden chance just before the break, but his moment came four minutes from time when he headed home Jack Grealish’s cross from close range to bag his first goal at the European Championship. Kane said last week that he was beginning to peak and this certainly bodes well.

Southgate’s redemption

England manager Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate was redeemed by the victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

No one has been reminded of England’s previous failures against Germany more than boss Gareth Southgate, who missed that famous penalty 25 years ago in Euro 96. What a moment of redemption for him at the place of his lowest moment. And after seeing his side deliver another clean sheet, he will say he got his team selection and tactics spot on as England delivered one of their biggest ever performances in knockout football. Of course, nothing is won yet and a quarter-final in Rome against Ukraine or Sweden awaits, but Southgate will surely enjoy this as a career highlight.

Ending on a Low

Joachim Low
Joachim Low’s long tenure as Germany boss is over (Mike Egerton/PA)

Germany’s defeat means that Joachim Low’s 15-year stint as manager comes to an end. It has been quite a journey from the glory of winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to the ignominy of a group stage exit four years later. This current side are in transition and better days may be around the corner. But Low will not be around to see it as his exit was confirmed before the tournament began. He would not have wanted to go out in this way with a defeat at Wembley.

Wembley rocking

England fans in the Wembley stands
A half-full Wembley roared England on to victory (Nick Potts/PA)

There was only around 40,000 in attendance , but it felt like so many more were packed into Wembley as there was a brilliant and partisan atmosphere. This was not only a celebration of football, but also one of a return to some sort of normality as fans were allowed back into a stadium on a mass scale. Indeed, this was the biggest attendance at a football match in this country since March 2020 as the restrictions post-lockdown continue to ease. And those England fans who were lucky enough to get a ticket might well say that all the hardship of the last 15 months was worth it.

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