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Sports

Stale Germany deservedly stunned by bullish England

When they took a 2-0 lead, it looked like Germany would secure yet another win against England. But that proved wishful thinking for the hosts as Joachim Löw's side went down to Roy Hodgson's plucky side.

The chants came after just two minutes. "5-1 win, even Heskey scored." England fans love to recall moments of football victory, particularly that night in Munich, but few would have predicted that this night in Berlin would become just as memorable.

Fans cheered when the gates opened and the queues trickled through the increased security checks towards their seats. But, like the teams, it took the crowd 45 minutes to stem the understandable undertone of anxiety.

By the hour mark, it had become a very predictable game of football. Germany led 2-0 and England had flirted with the possibility of an upset, but their lack of composure in front of goal had hindered them.

The fantastic contingent of traveling fans was not left unrewarded, though. Harry Kane struck and then, with Germany's fans on the edge of their conservative seats, Jamie Vardy came off the bench to score an unbelievable equalizer. The England fans were delirious. There was no telling them this was just a friendly.

For all of England's spirit and determination, this was a concerning moment in Germany's development under Joachim Löw. From a commanding position, Germany threw it away. When Mario Gomez scored, an arrogant mist descended on the team, and the fans. "This game is over," said one. "Now it's time for 5-0," said another.

Even before that though, the cracks were there. Antonio Rüdiger looked out of his depth, while Emre Can proved (again) that right back really isn't his position. Mats Hummels' seemingly scheduled departure at the break was a huge loss, as the defense collapsed without the Dortmund man's composure. Most concerning was the lack of width that either full back showed. Mitchell Weiser, Erik Durm and even Matthias Ginter (in the squad) must be wondering what they have to do to play. In holding midfield, Toni Kroos might have scored but was otherwise unseen.

Fußball - England - Deutschland

England delivered one of their best performances in the last decade, leaving many visiting fans buoyant about their future

With Germany faltering, even Sami Khedira struggled on a night when the Juventus midfielder showed his importance. His nightmare pass near the end shouldn't blotch an otherwise strong performance, however. A key figure in the years when Germany's squad struggled to manage the Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund rivalry, it was fitting that Khedira not only wore the armband, but played like a captain too. Sadly, he alone couldn't stop Germany's team from crumbling, but his performance is encouraging, particularly in the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Mario Gomez showed that there is still value in the old-fashioned number nine, taking his goal superbly, but Germany tried too hard to integrate him early on and their interplay suffered.

At the latest when Khedira sent his pass astray, Germany knew the game was up. The home side couldn't get out. England were reacting better than Germany were acting. It was like Sweden all over again - same stadium, same momentum swing, but this time, a different result.

With a move to match the tepidness of the performance, Löw turned to Lukas Podolski. England's brightest talent Dele Alli should have won it, but his Tottenham teammate Eric Dier did instead. The England fans roared with delight. The Germany fans got up and left.

This is an all too familiar story for Germany, who tend to save their best for tournaments. The spluttering nature of their football ever since the win in Brazil has left many concerned that this summer in France won't have such a happy ending. The performance in Berlin suggested little was being done to prevent such an outcome.

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