Germany were left to rue missed first half opportunities as they played out a goalless draw against England at Wembley on Friday night. Leroy Sane and Timo Werner both went close but the breakthrough never came.
England 0 – 0 Germany
As is often the way in friendly matches, even the ones between such old rivals, an entertaining opening period gave way to a dull deadlock, which may not have taught either coach much they didn’t already know.
The opening few minutes were a sign of things to come in the first half. First Timo Werner just lost out to England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after Harry Maguire left a 2nd minute backpass short, then Pickford’s fellow England debutant Tammy Abraham failed to make contact with Jamie Vardy’s left wing cross.
Leroy Sane was next to go close, cutting in from the right wing to whip a brilliant left-footed strike on to Pickford’s bar after 20 minutes. The Manchester City man was involved again three minutes later as Germany spurned three chances in a matter of seconds.
First Werner ran on to a through ball and drove low across Pickford, who did well to push the ball out to Sane. The winger struck firmly but Phil Jones recovered to clear off the line with his head before Julian Draxler skied the rebound.
England’s inexperienced and somewhat sluggish midfield was struggling to cope with the movement of Draxler, Sane and Werner and the RB Leipzig striker was put through again on 39 minutes, only to be denied by Pickford once again.
Abraham was next up on the chance conveyor belt, wriggling in to space in Germany’s box and seeing his deflected shot land inches wide of the post, before Jamie Vardy failed to lift a ball from deep over the onrushing Marc Andre ter Stegen.
As well as having the last chance of the first half, the Leicester man had the first of the second period on 49 minutes. England worked the ball out to Kieran Trippier on the right and he found Vardy unmarked in the box, but ter-Stegen scooped his header out.
Germany saw a lot of the ball but couldn’t find the same level of incision as they had before the break and the traditional raft of second half substitutions had its usual soporific effect on a game that started so brightly.
It was nearly came to life again deep in injury time when Jesse Lingard found himself with space in the six yard box from Maguire’s knockdown but he could only follow the theme of the match and waste his chance.
As it happened
90 +4 -- There really should be. Maguire nods down at the back post but Lingard blazes over from six yards out. What a chance. And that's it.
90'+ 3 -- England havea free kick in a decent position. Late drama?
86' -- Another England debutant, Jack Cork, replaces Jake Livermore and Jesse Lingard is on for Vardy. For Germany it's Gündogan off, Rudy on and Brandt on for Sane.
83' -- ter Stegen spills a left wing cross but recovers before it reaches an England man.
78' -- Can pulls one wide from the edge of the box. The first half seems a distant memorsy right now.
73' -- And another one. Wagner on, Werner off.
71' -- What was that about lack of substitutions? England swap both full backs, Walker on for Trippier, Bertrand on for Rose.
70' -- Despite the lack of substitutions - by international friendly standards - the tempo has dropped a fair bit in the last ten minutes. Germany are probing, England aiming to hit on the break.
67' -- Germany make their first sub. Can on for Draxler. Which presumably means Özil will push on.
63' -- Germany have had a lot of the ball this half without doing a whole lot with it. But it feels like some of the quickfire stuff around the edge of England's box will pay off sooner or later.
60' -- Abraham is replaced by Rahsford in England's second substitution. It came as a surprise to many that the Manchester United striker didn't start.
58' -- After weaving some pretty patterns, Özil is muscled off the ball by Loftus Cheek and England break. But Abrahams's control is poor and Hummels gets in a good tackle. The Germany skipper is then forced to clear over the bar from inside his own six yard box after England break down the right.
55' -- A patient spell of possession for Germany works Kimmich in to space in the right but his cross in blocked by Rose's arm. Gündogan's free kick hits the one man wall and the corner is also wasted.
49' -- Vardy again. England work the ball wide to Trippier nicely and he finds Leicester man in space, he nods at goal only for ter Stegen to scramble away.
46' -- We're back underway at Wembley.
HALF TIME: Well, that was quite the advert for both friendlies and 0-0s. Both sides had periods of impressive enterprise and both had chances to score. For Germany, Timo Werner had had two one-on-ones saves and Leroy Sane has struck the bar while Tammy Abraham and Jamie Vardy have both wasted great positions for England. Let'S hope for more of the same after the break,
45+1 -- Gomez booked for hauling down Sane and that's the end of the half.
45' -- Vardy should score. The England striker is played in by a lovely ball over the top from Loftus Cheek. As ter Stegen rushes out, he looks to dink it on to Abraham it doesn't work out. Surely he should have been selfish there?
42' -- Abraham wriggles some space in the box and snaps off a shot. It deflects and almost loops in to the net with ter Stegen wrong footed.
39' -- Werner is denied by Pickford again. He just about sprung the offside trap and veered slightly to the right before hitting across the England keeper, who got a strong hand to it to avert the danger.
36' -- Rüdiger hasn't looked especially comfortable against Vardy and he knocks the England man to ground on Germany's left. Trippier's delivery is much better this time and eventually Maguire finds Rose in space, but his shot is blocked.
31' -- Rose just keeps a ball in play and wins a corner for England to relieve some pressure. But Trippier wastes it.
27' -- Germany starting to assert their authority here. Özil is finding some space between the lines with Draxler and Sane buzzing menacingly off Werner.
25' -- Substitution for England with Jones, who presumably injured himself in that clearance, replaced by Gomez.
23' -- Triple chance for Germany. First Werner is through and drives low across Pickford who does well to push away with his left hand. It's falls to Sane whose shot is heading in until Jones heads off the line straight to Draxler who can't get his feet right and puts it over the bar.
20' -- Sane! Brilliant from the Manchester City man, who cuts inside and whips one on the bar with his left foot. Great effort.
18' -- England knocking the ball about fairly well now, Germany doing the chasing. Which very much wasn't in the script. Rüdiger reacts by chopping down Loftus Cheek after a nice piece of skill - ter-Stegen flaps a bit at the free kick but gets it out.
14' -- Vardy and Abraham almost fashion a chance for Loftus-Cheek but are foiled by the referee's whistle.
11' -- The new left back in the game again, this time forcing a corner - which is headed away.
8' -- Halstenberg does well again, cutting back to Sane who breaks a tackle but hits a fairly tame effort in to the side netting from a decent position.
7' -- New man Halstenberg gets away down the left but is off balance and can't get enough on the cross.
5' -- Rüdiger tries to find Werner with a ball over the top but the Leipzig man is offside.
2' -- Big chances at both ends already. First Werner just fails to beat Pickford to a loose backpass then Abraham can't turn in Vardy's pull back from the left wing. Huge opportunity for the England debutant in particular.
1' -- After a well observed period of rememberance, we're off. Germany, wearing white tonight, get us underway.
The players are belting out the anthems. Both sides wearing poppies tonight ahead of Rememberance Day tomorrow.
England coach Gareth Southgate has just spoken to the media about dealing with the late withdrawals from his squad:
"It has been challenging, but we’ve known what we’ve got to work with since Tuesday but now I’m excited to see the younger players in particular go and show what they can do"
For the fourth time in four years, two of international football's oldest and fiercest rivals meet in an international friendly. Germany have won three of those four, including the meeting in Dortmund earlier this year that marked Lukas Podolski's final appearance for Germany. The Germans also have the edge overall, with 15 wins to England's 13.
Joachim Löw promised before the match that he'd experiment a little with his side and he hands a debut to Marcel Halstenberg at left back in a strong team that includes Leroy Sane, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler and Mats Hummels. Ilkay Gündogan makes his first appearance for the national team in a year.
For the hosts, who have been struck by a number of withdrawals, particularly in the attacking positions, it's a fairly unfamiliar looking eleven. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and forward Tammy Abraham all pick up their first caps. There's one more first tonight - the video assistant referee will be used in an England game for the first time.