In the crucial last 16 clash v Germany, England boss Fabio Capello elected to stick with his winning eleven that saw off Slovenia in the last group stage match. Unchanged and with growing confidence, England took the field against one of, if not their most hated international rival. The footballing history between the 2 countries span multiple decades, but it was all meaningless on the day when the whistle blew for kickoff. A place in the quarter finals beckoned and with all the pre game hype over, it was now time for football to do the talking.
Germany came closest to scoring early through Mesut Ozil but was easily denied by David James at the near post. The opening 15 minutes saw England’s determination in full view, but the match remained very tight and very tense. In the 20th, England thought it appropriate to take a nap during a World Cup round of 16 clash with their most hated international rival, something the England back line would perfect throughout the evening. Manuel Neuer played a long ball straight into the path of Miroslav Klose who held off Matthew Upson to slot past James. Shocking stuff as England were beaten at their own game.
For the duration of the first half, England continued to play very narrow and looked slightly confused at times as to where to play the ball. It didn’t matter, as Germany seemingly had their way with England’s back line throughout the first half. Matthew Upson and John Terry were inept for a decent stretch that resulted in Germany scoring twice and taking a commanding 2 goal lead. It looked all but over for England who hadn’t capitulated just yet.
England fought back through Matthew Upson who redeemed himself with a header to pull England back within a goal in the 37th minute. England’s attack quickly sprung into motion as seconds later, in a moment that will go down in World Cup history, Frank Lampard brilliantly chipped Manuel Neuer for England’s equalizer, only it wasn’t given.
In one of the all time World Cup refereeing blunders, Lampard’s clear goal to level the score wasn’t awarded, and a nation, hell, a world continued to wonder when, if ever, FIFA will implement some form of goal line technology. As the halftime whistle blew, players and fans across the world were able to catch their respective breaths as FIFA head Sepp Blatter contemplated the eventual backlash. An incredibly exciting game for the neutral, but England fans left robbed.
England pushed and pushed during the second half with mixed results. Capello elected to replace James Milner with Joe Cole to add some attacking flair to the front line, but England were too easily caught on the break in the 67th and 70th by Thomas Muller all but ending the game in the Germans favor. Credit England for going for it, but the three lions left themselves too thin at the back and Germany took advantage.
The eventual scoreline doesn’t lie. Germany were quick on the break and linked up well with each other over the course of the 90 minutes. They proved their quality and were simply better than England even if the three lions did have a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed.
Still, England fans will forever question the disallowed goal and how England would have approached the game entirely different at the start of the second half had the score been even at 2. Regardless, England go home and Germany move on as the world footballing community are left to ponder if we’ll ever see goal line technology or instant replay introduced into the game by FIFA.
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