England has exorcised its demons

England has exorcised its demons and beaten Germany 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Football Championship. England has not done this since 30 July 1966. And now the door has been pushed open, England has finally beaten Germany, and may reach the final of a major tournament – something they have not done for 45 years.

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane scored late goals as England defeated Germany 2-0 at Wembley in front of 41,973 fans to make it through to the final eight of Euro 2020, while a peak TV audience of 20.6 million watched the match on BBC One.

For England, it was always going to be about finding the moment to put an end to soccer German domination.  “For surely there is an end, and [England’s] expectation was not cut off” after so many negative tournament history at the hands of Germany. And for long spells, as the tension rose to almost unbearable levels at a raucous and emotional Wembley, the home crowd wondered whether victory would come.

On balance, both teams offered very little in the first 45 minutes, with both Timo Werner and Harry Kane missing sitters to give their respective sides the win. Then in the second half, Jordan Pickford had to produce a masterful stop to keep out Kai Havertz’s volley from outside the box.

As the game progressed, the stalemate continued until Raheem Sterling came to the rescue.  Sterling finished off a crisp England move from the six-yard box, in the 75th minute, the City winger tapping the ball beyond German goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer from Luke Shaw’s cross, and then in the 86th minute, Luke Shaw found Kane in the box to put the game away. Just moments earlier Thomas Müller had the chance to equalize on the breakaway but, uncharacteristically, the Bayern forward missed the open goal. Shortly after, captain Harry Kane made it 2-0, when he scored his first goal of the tournament to seal a memorable victory. Sterling has had his critics for his England performances down the years, but he’s really taken his game to another level with a superb showing at Euro 2020 so far.

The Manchester City forward fully deserved to enjoy every minute of this as he celebrated with family after the game.

Germany was in Group F, alongside Portugal, France and Hungary. At first glance, getting out of Group F, the so-called Group of Death, was an achievement for Germany. But Portugal, eliminated by Belgium and France defeated by Switzerland, were gone before kickoff on Tuesday.

England’s coach, Gareth Southgate had opted for stability rather than attack, benching Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish. The latter came on in the second half just in time to provide the input for England’s victory.

Southgate had reverted to a 3-4-3, ignoring the clamour for greater fantasy and more creative players. It was the England manager sticking bravely to his principles, seeking security, the platform for the moment, and a part of the equation was patience, which was not in abundant supply inside the stadium.

Germany had shown their quality in the first half, particularly early on, yet England came to match them physically and tactically. The longer the second half wore on, the greater the assurance of those in white shirts. Remember the verse: “For surely there is a reward, and thy hope shall not be cut off.”  England’s hope became a reality when they finally beat Germany in front of the home crowd.

Southgate’s side will now play Ukraine in the next round after they beat Sweden. Then a favourable semi-final draw would see Southgate’s side go on to face the winner of Denmark vs Czech Republic in Rome. Fans have been warned by English Football Association not to travel to Italy because of Covid restrictions.

England has finally been able to defeat Germany. With that historic result, the era of German’s coach, Joachim Löw come to an end with former Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick taking over on July.  This is a new era indeed for Germany and England.