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It had to be, didn’t it?
It could have been one of four teams – and at different times during a dizzying few hours on Wednesday night, England were in pencil to face them all – but in the end it was Germany.
Gareth Southgate’s side will face Joachim Low’s men in the Euro 2020 round of 16 on Tuesday in front of around 40,000 spectators at Wembley, in a match as dramatic as it has been history over the years.
“Now we’re traveling to England,” Low said after his side won with a 2-2 draw against Hungary. “It’s great news to play in London at Wembley against England. “
Despite Germany’s lukewarm start to the tournament, Low’s upbeat demeanor is understandable – it hasn’t generally gone well for England in previous meetings.
2010 World Cup: three Lions haunted by a “phantom goal”
England’s World Cup ended in a mixture of humiliation and controversy when it was beaten by Germany at Bloemfontein in 2010.
Germany’s deserved victory and convincing margin of victory was overshadowed by a moment which England said robbed them of any hope of reaching the tournament’s final eight in South Africa.
Matthew Upson had thrown a lifeline to England just before half-time after a far superior Germany took control of the game with goals from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski.
And moments after Upson’s header, Frank Lampard’s superb finish landed over the line behind German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, an obvious fact to almost everyone inside Free State Stadium.
But the goal was not awarded and Thomas Muller added two more goals as Germany emerged from convincing winners.
Euro 2000: England wins, just… ..
It wasn’t always one-way traffic when England and Germany faced off in a tournament.
The Three Lions finally defeated their football foe in a fierce clash for Euro 2000.
Skipper Alan Shearer scored the goal which gave the English a first competitive victory over their rivals since the 1966 World Cup final.
However, that still wasn’t enough for England to progress from the group stage.
They lost their next game against Romania and made an early exit.
Euro 1996: Southgate misses the mark
On June 26, 1996, England and Germany met at Wembley, with the prize being a spot for the Euro 96 final.
Shearer gave England a dream start with a goal after three minutes before Stefan Kuntz equalized after 16 minutes.
A tense semi-final resulted in extra time but the two teams still couldn’t be separated so it ended in a penalty shoot-out.
England scored their first five before current England manager Southgate missed his attempt.
And when Andreas Moller hid his attempt, it sparked some crazy German celebrations to leave English fans heartbroken.
Will England defeat Germany this time?
This is the last tournament for Joachim Low in charge of Germany. Low has already announced that he will quit his post after the Euro.
Will next Tuesday’s match with England be his last?
The triple European champions and quadruple world champions were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup during the group stage.
Despite three years of experimentation since then, Low has yet to find a stable team or system and for long stretches of Wednesday the results as they were would have left them low in Group F and knocked out.
One thing is for sure, England are set to stop next Tuesday as Southgate’s side look to win their first major tournament since defeating West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final. .
If they overtake Germany, England will meet winners Sweden against Ukraine in the quarter-finals in Rome on July 3.
Another penalty shootout?
Former England midfielder Danny Murphy has said England have nothing to fear against Germany.
Speaking on BBC One, Murphy said: “We have players who could cause problems for them as well as in Portugal if we get them at a later stage.
“If you are sitting in this England team, [you] should not be afraid. “
Former Germany head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has said he is savoring the game.
“Germany and England are in a similar situation, position by position,” he added. “I think it will be a very balanced battle and it will be about the form of the day.
“We saw a different face of Germany against Portugal and we saw a different face tonight, and England were the same against Scotland and Croatia.
“We will see a fascinating game between England and Germany as we don’t know what to expect.
“If you play player by player and team by team in Germany and England, it’s a 50/50 situation that could end up again in a penalty shootout. “
What the newspapers were saying