From the Viewsroom

Football’s coming home?

B Baskar | Updated on July 01, 2021

By beating Germany, England may have got the monkey off its back

Who would have thought the last eight of the Euros would comprise The Czech Republic, Switzerland, Ukraine and Denmark and world champions France and defending European champions Portugal along with pedigreed teams such as Germany and the Netherlands getting knocked out in the second round?

The Euros, the world’s second most popular football tournament, has certainly lit up in the second round. Along with France losing to minnows Switzerland and Spain just about beating Croatia (the two-goal difference surely flattered Spain), England defeating traditional rivals Germany in the Round of 16 was the next big news.

England, given its history against Germany in big tournaments, were the deserved winners on Tuesday evening at the iconic Wembley stadium.

After an even and engrossing first half, the second half turned more cagey and the pace of the game slowed down considerably. But it was a masterful substitution from England manager Gareth Southgate bringing on Jack Grealish for Bukayo Sako that turned things around for England. Grealish’s creativity gave that bit of zing that England were lacking till then and it was his decisive pass that led the superb Raheem Sterling scoring the first goal. But soon after that Sterling almost turned villain when he lost the ball letting Kai Havertz provide an inch perfect pass to veteran Thomas Mueller. Who would have though Mueller of all players would have a bout of stage fright and fluff his lines by putting the ball wide after being one-on-one with English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford? If Mueller had scored would England have found the resolve and pluck to still win the match — we will never know.

But the match was put beyond doubt with Harry Kane’s diving header in the 84th minute with the pass coming once again from Grealish. Thankfully, this time the English fans were spared a nerve-jangling penalty crap shoot.

The quarter finals line-up —: England vs Ukraine; Spain vs Switzerland, Belgium vs Italy and Czech Republic vs Denmark — presents a feast for football fans. England may just be fancying its chances.

Published on July 01, 2021

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