England And Germany Play Out Entertaining Draw

An entertaining first half gave way to a more sedate second period as England and Germany both go through to the final four...
Germany 1-1 England
First Half:

With qualification already assured for the semi-finals, the England coach, Stuart Pearce, opted for an experimental line-up, with only Adam Johnson being retained from the last fixture against Spain.

The unfamiliarity in the England ranks was exposed as early as the fourth minute by Germany though, as they found a cavernous hole in the Three Lions' rearguard.

Jerome Boateng was permitted to tread a through-ball from midfield to the run of Gonzalo Castro and the Bayer Leverkusen man, free from the inattentive Michael Mancienne, displayed composure to finish through the legs of Scott Loach.

The Germans were lacking a directness however, and could not embellish their lead, despite the probing runs of the gifted Mezut Ozil.

England gradually wrested the momentum from their German counterparts, with Andrew Driver providing a fine cross for Craig Gardner to nod over. England maintained a measured performance in terms of their passing and ball retention as the half wore on, and despite the changes, were punching in arguably their finest first half of the tournament.

Richard Stearman then attempted to gain a penalty under a legitimate challenge from Benedikt Howedes before England's dominance of the possession and territorial statistics eventually yielded the equaliser.

From Gardner's corner, Everton's Jack Rodwell stole in unguarded to exploit German deficiency at set-pieces with a controlled header.

The same player, growing in stature and confidence then fired narrowly over following a strong run from midfield.

Second Half

Introducing Joe Lewis for Scott Loach at half-time, Stuart Pearce ensured that all 23 players had a run out at these finals, and what followed was a subdued second period.

Both sides were tentative, with little penetration, until the 60th minute. Patrick Ebert's deflected shot threatened to deceive Lewis. However the replacement goalkeeper was well placed to save.

Germany had another opportunity soon after, when a corner from the right prompted Howedes to nod off target.

Despite the respective introductions of Theo Walcott and Marko Marin, the contest scarcely rose above the ordinary in the second half, but the English threatened to take the lead from a set-piece with 12 minutes to play.

Adam Johnson's corner was floated to the centre and Manuel Neuer's reluctance to claim was again evident. Richard Steerman volleyed goalwards, but Neuer parried. The resultant corner fell to Johnson at the edge of the box, and he too drew a save from the custodian.

With time running out, both sides wound things down, knowing that the draw would put them both through. Expect more fireworks if the sides collide in the final, however.

Line Ups:

Germany: Neuer; Beck, Howedes, Boateng, Schmelzer; Khedira, Ebert (Aogo 84'), Ozil, Ben-Hatira (Marin 67'), Castro; Dejagah

England: Loach (Lewis h/t); Stearman, Mancienne, Tomkins, Taylor; Rodwell, Rose, Gardner, Johnson, Driver (Gibbs 70'); Campbell (Walcott 57')


Germany: Castro 4'

England: Rodwell 29'

Peter Staunton, Goal.com