E.ngland rules the world – but only in club football with the rich Premier League as a globally attractive anchorage. England, however, do not set any standards when it comes to the question of the best national teams in the world. A title at the home World Cup in 1966, that was all that stuck in the collective memory of the global football audience.
As is so often the case on similar occasions, the English appeared strongest even before one of the big tournaments began. This was also the case before the pan-European championship this year, when Albion’s first selection was considered one of the first title candidates. When the four-week game marathon kicked off, however, only gray mediocrity was revealed when the Englishmen, who had been stressed over a long season, were challenged.
An inconspicuous 1-0 win over Croatia, the aged World Cup runner-up from 2018, and an unsightly 0-0 in the Battle of Britain against northern neighbors Scotland were before the third Group D game, before it was at home against the how England already qualified for the round of 16 with the same point selection of the Czech Republic in London’s Wembley Stadium for group victory.
Classic England versus Germany?
The minimalists from London and Manchester reached this interim goal on Tuesday evening after a 1-0 win thanks to Raheem Sterling’s goal (12th minute). The next step in the round of 16, again at Wembley Stadium, could be the current edition of the 1966 final and the 1996 European Championship semi-finals: The team of national coach Joachim Löw is on this Wednesday evening (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the football EM, on ZDF and MagentaTV) Second place in Group F after their game against Hungary, it would come to the classic England against Germany next Tuesday. “That’s the way it is in football. If you want to win something, you have to be able to beat anyone, ”said Sterling.
The young team of coach Gareth Southgate Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell from Champions League winner Chelsea were missing out on the plan to finally spoil their own fans with a strong performance because they were around 25 minutes after the British summit last Friday long conversed with their Scottish clubmate Billy Gilmour, who later tested positive for Corona.
Dortmund’s Bundesliga star Jadon Sancho also failed to make it into Southgate’s starting line-up in the third English European Championship test – and that with four changes made by the coach after the latest disappointment. While Sancho sat on the bench until the 84th minute and was allowed to play a bit, Grealish, Maguire, Saka and Walker were there from the start instead of Foden, James, Mings and Mount.
With Grealish, the tricky playmaker from Aston Villa, more creativity came into the game of the Three Lions, with Saka, the 19-year-old junior of Arsenal FC, more depth of field, and Sterling shone before the break with his free-running behavior as if he were the perfect one at the moment he headed Grealish’s cross to make it 1-0. After just two minutes, the Manchester City attacker hit the post when the English gave the first signal.
The captain and goal-getter on duty, Harry Kane, who had been inconspicuous in the course of the tournament until then, understood this, who was close to his first goal in the tournament with his shot saved by Vaclik (26th). The Czechs only turned up in the second part of the first half when Holes’ long-range shot was parried by Pickford (28th) and Soucek’s shot just missed the target (35th).
England had finally entered the tournament with renewed vigor and could play an even bigger role than initially thought. For a change, however, a similarly strong second half would be needed. The English did not manage to do that at this tournament. Henderson’s offside hit didn’t help either (86th). The winner effortlessly defended his slight lead, while the Czechs sank into the upright mediocrity and only ended up third in Group D due to the 3-1 victory of the Croatians against Scotland.