2014 World Cup winners Germany kicked off their Euro 2016 preparations with a 3-2 defeat against England at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Saturday evening, as both teams paid tribute to those involved in the Brussels attacks and the recently deceased Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. Before the national anthems, current Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil was awarded with the German footballer of the year award for 2015.
Toni Kroos gave the homeside the lead with a speculative effort on 43 minutes. Mario Gomez made it 2-0, but goals from Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier sealed the impressive victory in the last half an hour for England, to stun Joachim Low’s team.
The visitors started the game the brightest but Germany had the best chances in the opening stages when Mario Gomez headed wide of the post and Stoke City’s young GK Jack Butland got down well to save Mats Hummels having a stab at goal.
Germany did have the ball in the net on 26 minutes when Sami Khedira’s through ball found the feet of Gomez whose low strike to the right of Butland was incorrectly ruled out for offside – a lucky escape for Roy Hodgson’s side.
On 37 minutes England had the chance to take the lead. Harry Kane found Danny Welbeck whose delayed shot was blocked, before Adam Lallana excitedly smashed the ball high and wide over Manuel Neuer’s cross bar from 18 yards as the Three Lions continued to press.
The homeside took the lead before halftime, when Toni Kroos fired a low left foot shot past the hobbling Butland and into the England net. The distraught England shot stopper, who’d suffered a knock earlier, was stretchered off and replaced by Fraser Forster of Southampton.
Germany introduced 20-year old Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah, making his international debut, for star backliner Mats Hummels at the start of the second half. Marco Reus delivered a wickedly dipping freekick, which was almost touched on by the on-rushing Gomez and Muller. Shortly after, Dele Alli stung the palms of Manuel Neuer with a vicious drive from 23 yards as England went in search of an equaliser.
A mistake by Emre Can almost gifted England an equaliser, only for Jordan Henderson’s side foot shot to deflect away for a corner by Jonas Hector.
Mario Gomez, the 30 year-old who has re-engerized his career this season at Beşiktaş, doubled Germany’s advantage two minutes later after ghosting between Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill and firing a bullet header into the net.
England pulled a goal back a few minutes later though. A half-cleared England corner looked like nothing was on for the men in red. Harry Kane tricked the German defence with a Cruyff turn and a sharp shot from 15 yards, which found the bottom corner. England were back in the match. André Schürrle replaced Reus on 63 minutes to win his 50th cap.
On 67 minutes, a great interchange between Kane and Alli almost resulted in an England equaliser as Alli’s low left footed effort was saved by the legs of Neuer.
A fast break from England found Clyne with some space on the right, and his hard cross was expertly flicked into the net by super sub Vardy.
England had a golden chance to win, but the excellent Alli fluffed his lines, side footing over an empty net from eight yards, a goal gaping chance, but then came Dier.
In the first minute of added time, a low cross from Henderson resulted in an England corner. Taking the corner himself, the 25-year old found the head of debutant Dier, whose smashing header found the back of the German net, leaving Neuer with no chance – England had won it and remain unbeaten in Berlin.
Germany: Neuer, Can, Rudiger, Hummels (Tah 45), Hector, Kroos, Khedira (Captain), Muller (Podolski 76), Ozil, Reus (Schurrle 63), Gomez (Gotze 79)
England: Butland (Forster 43), Rose, Cahill (Captain), Smalling, Clyne, Henderson, Dier, Lallana (Barkley 70), Alli, Welbeck (Vardy 70), Kane.
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