England’s promising stars take advantage of untested German defense | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.03.2016
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England’s promising stars take advantage of untested German defense

England's Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jamie Vardy all repaid Roy Hodgson's newfound faith in them as they matched and then ultimately overcame a German defense full of untested backup players.

Germany 2-3 England
(Kroos 23', Gomez 57' - Kane 61', Vardy 75', Dier 90')

England pulled off an unexpected 3-2 victory in Berlin on Saturday night playing exciting, attacking football that ultimately proved too much for an untested German defense.

The first 45 minutes were largely uneventful, but England took the game to their hosts. The attacking three of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Danny Welbeck found space behind Germany's midfield on a number of occasions. With both Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira pushing forward, Germany's defense often relied upon the athleticism of Antonio Rüdiger, Emre Can and Mats Hummels to thwart England's sporadic chances with a last-ditch tackle or block inside the German box.

While the hosts may have looked suspect at the back, Kroos and Khedira were the ones creating chances for Germany up at the other end of the pitch. Despite being tasked with keeping an eye on England's attacking talents, Khedira played in Mario Gomez to open the scoring in the 26th minute with a well-placed shot inside Jack Butland's back post. The offside flag went up, however, and Gomez was deprived of the opener.

Fußball - England - Deutschland

Mario Gomez received reconciliation for his offside effort in the first half

It wasn't long before Germany would once again break through a stubborn England defense. Shortly before the break a long-range shot from Kroos beat Butland at his front post to the surprise of both sides.

The Stoke keeper was forced to come off with an injury immediately after the goal - which may have explained his inability to reach his front post - yet Germany went in to the break ahead despite a relatively poor performance.

Second half

The second half began with England showing the same intensity as they did from the start of the game. Roy Hodgson's side came close to an equalizer when Can was unable to shield the ball from Welbeck. The Arsenal forward dispossessed him just before the goal line and laid a shot off for Jordan Henderson. On target and with pace, the Liverpool midfielder's shot looked destined for the goal had Hector not got in the way just in time.

Germany had the ball in the back of the net moments later when Gomez once again drifted away from Gary Cahill and got his head to a Khedira cross and cushioned the ball past Fraser Forster in goal. For the second time in the game, Khedira set up the powerful striker and he finally had his goal.

Fußball - England - Deutschland

Harry Kane started England's comeback with a fantastic turn in the penalty area

England continued attacking though, causing problems for Germany's defense. Just two minutes after Germany took a sizeable lead, Kane finally broke through a defensive line that had been asking for trouble all night. From a corner, the Tottenham Hotspur striker got a touch on the ball at Germany's back post facing away from goal, only to then turn on the spot and evade Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller before squeezing a shot past Can and Manuel Neuer's best attempts to get in front of the shot. A moment of magic from the promising forward that gave England a deserving goal.

Germany struggled with Kane's presence throughout the game, and when Jamie Vardy came on 10 minutes later things got even worse for the world champions. The Leicester City striker wasted little time taking German coach Joachim Löw's makeshift back-line to task when a cross from Nathaniel Clyne found the striker at Neuer's front post. In incredible fashion, Vardy flicked the ball past the Bayern Munich goalkeeper with the back heel of his right foot. After just three touches and three minutes on the pitch, the Premier League's second top goalscorer had leveled for his country.

Worryingly for Löw, Germany didn't offer much incentive to regain their lead after Vardy's equalizer and continued to allow the visitors the space and time to attack with ease. In added time, defensive midfielder Eric Dier out-jumped Andre Schürrle at the front post to knock in a Henderson corner. England had finally taken a lead that had eluded them for the entire match against a side that would have had few complaints at full time. A promising, attacking team had travelled to Berlin and finally gotten the better of Germany's hapless defense.