Determined to end their five-game winless streak, England welcomed Germany to the Wembley Stadium for their final UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 fixture on Monday night (September 26).
The Three Lions pushed hard to nick a win against a worthy rival in their final game before the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately for them, a lackluster defensive performance kept them from attaining their goal. An end-to-end spectacle at times, the game ended 3-3 in England, confirming the hosts’ demotion (finished last) to League B. Luke Shaw, Mason Mount, and Harry Kane each scored a goal for Gareth Southgate’s men while Ilkay Gundogan netted once and Kai Havertz bagged a brace for Germany.
With both teams looking to avoid defeat, the game started on a cagey note. Except for a couple of advances down the left flank, England struggled to do anything of note in the first half. Germany, on the other hand, had a lot of joy in midfield but failed to create clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
The second half started on a friskier note. Harry Maguire clumsily fouled Jamal Musiala inside the English box, compelling the referee to point to the spot. Gundogan took the penalty and found the bottom-right corner to put the visitors a goal up in the 52nd minute. Fifteen minutes later, Havertz picked up a pass from Timo Werner on the edge of the box and curled home a superb finish into the top corner, doubling Germany’s tally.
Four minutes after conceding their second, Southgate’s side replied with their first goal of the match, with Shaw bundling the ball over the line. Substitute Mount equalized for the home side four minutes later, latching on to a ball from fellow substitute Mount and dispatching an unstoppable strike from the edge of the box.
In the 82nd minute, center-back Nico Schlotterbeck made contact with Jude Bellingham inside the German box. The VAR took a closer look and awarded the hosts a penalty. Skipper Harry Kane found the back of the net from the spot to complete England’s comeback. Unfortunately for the hosts, their lead only lasted four minutes, with Havertz doubling his tally after turning in a rebound from close range.
In the 90th minute, Saka dashed down the pitch and went from goal from the right side of the pitch. His effort zipped narrowly wide of the far post to allow Hansi Flick’s men to escape with a point. Here are two English players who impressed and three who disappointed in their final Nations League Group C game on Monday:
Underperformed: Raheem Sterling
Chelsea ace Raheem Sterling troubled Germany with his pace but lacked any end product. He was easily dispossessed, weak in the duels, and failed to create clear-cut goalscoring chances for his teammates.
The English forward lost 11 of 12 ground duels, ceded possession a whopping 24 times, misplaced both his attempted long balls, and failed in six of his seven attempted duels. He was deservedly hooked for his Chelsea teammate Mount in the 66th minute.
Performed: Jude Bellingham
Playing alongside Declan Rice in the middle of the park, Borussia Dortmund’s young midfielder Jude Bellingham put on a stunning show. He dictated the tempo of the match, contributed to the press, was solid defensively, and played a part in two of England’s three goals.
Bellingham carried the ball forward and passed it to Reece James in the 71st minute, who assisted Shaw. Then, in the 82nd minute, he drew a foul from Schlotterbeck, leading to Kane’s penalty.
Against Germany, Bellingham made a key pass, won eight duels (of 12), made three interceptions, and attempted four tackles.
Underperformed: Nick Pope
Deputizing for first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope failed to put in an impressive shift. Courtesy of a slow start, he did not have much to do in the first half but made a complete mess of it when called upon in the second forty-five. His distribution was poor and he spilled Serge Gnabry’s long-ranger into Havertz’s path in the 87th minute, leading to Germany’s late equalizer.
On Monday, Pope made only 13 accurate passes (out of 24) against the Germans, misplaced 10 long balls (15 attempts), and made only a single save.
Performed: Luke Shaw
Questions were raised over Luke Shaw’s inclusion in Southgate’s England squad. Producing a confident performance, the Manchester United left-back showed why the coach was right to include him.
Shaw was solid at the back, regularly dashed up the pitch, and scored England’s first goal of the night in the 71st minute. Shaw chested down James’ cross, steadied himself, and squeezed a shot past Ter Stegen to put his team in front.
He was also great in aerial duels, winning both, intercepted a couple of passes, made a clearance, played a key pass, and completed a dribble (2 attempts).
Underperformed: Harry Maguire
While his Manchester United teammate Shaw passed the test with flying colors, Maguire once again cut a frustrating figure at the back.
He blatantly fouled Musiala in the 51st minute inside his box to gift Germany a penalty. Sixteen minutes later, he gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Werner to run down and square it to Havertz, who beautifully converted.
At Wembley, Maguire lost five of nine ground duels, ceded possession 12 times, committed three fouls, and misplaced six long balls against Flick’s outfit.