Tuesday, 19 November 2013

England 0 v Germany 1 - International Match

Tuesday 19th November 2013, at Wembley Stadium
International Match
England (0) 0
Germany (1) 1
Per Mertesacker 39
Attendance 85,934
Left click pictures to enlarge
Hart, Cole (Gibbs 53), Jagielka, Walker, Smalling, Gerrard (Henderson 56), Lallana (Lambert 76), Cleverley (Wilshire 64), Townsend, Rooney (Barkley 71), Sturridge
Unused subs - Johnson, Ruddy, Baines, Cahill, Milner, Lampard, Forster, Defoe, Rodriguez
Weidenfeller, Mertesacker, Westermann (Draxier 67), Schmelzer (Jansen 45), Boateng (Hummels 45) Sub subbed (Höwedes - 65'), Kroos, S.Bender, L.Bender, Reus (Schürrle 82), Gotze, Kruse (Sam 56)
Unused subs -  Adler, Müller
A 'fitting finale' to the final friendly celebrating the Football Association's 150th anniversary ... apparently.
In the aftermath of a defeat that saw England suffer two consecutive losses at Wembley for the first time since 1977, Roy Hodgson said:
"There's certainly no question of panic If anything I'm much wiser, with regard to the players I've got at my disposition and what we need to work on going into a tournament."
"I'm not prepared to accept that two friendly defeats in which I have used a lot of players in two tough games is going to take the shine off what has been a very good year."
"It has been a great year for the Football Association on their 150th anniversary and it's been a great year for me because we have qualified for the World Cup.
"We have achieved our goal and we have a lot to look forward to. I am looking forward very much to 2014."
But he stopped short of saying "Don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!"
Joking aside, Hodgson is right of course (except perhaps he should've used the word disposal instead of disposition) ... and even though there will be another onslaught of overnight vicious anti England team rhetoric and sentiment spread across social media channels and the back pages of tomorrow mornings newspapers. I'd urge people to get hold, albeit with a tenuous grip, of the meaning of the word perspective, before taking certain elements of the press corp too seriously.
Germany were slated in many circles, for fielding an experimental line up for this practice match and were even accused of being disrespectful for doing so.
England have chopped and changed over the course of the last two games an put several 'trialists' through their paces, so what is so wrong about Germany doing exactly the same?
I for one had travelled to the capital to support England, not to swoon over opposition players of the calibre of Mesut Ozil and besides, you can hardly say Germany's 'reserves' were hardly lacking in quality.
However while people are all too eager to look for an angle to have a good old moan about and it sells newspapers, the lets make mountains out of molehills editorial department, will never have to go without a living wage.
And lets face facts here, rubbishing the England team and 'Kraut bashing' have kept many a lazy so called sports journalist in a job over the years now.
At least the middle aged loudmouth, sat a couple of rows behind me, in a plastic St. George's flag bowler hat, emblazoned with the name of his favourite red top newspaper, who shouted out to nobody in particular: "Hey look boys, he's coming off, do the Luftwaffe use U-Boats instead of subs?", will find plenty to amuse himself with in the early editions.
I can only assume he doesn't have a masters degree in wartime history.
The most pleasing aspect of the game for me, was the way that Joe Hart defied his critics and put in a man of the match performance, against a backdrop of a orchestrated campaign against him, which has seen him pushed under the spotlight as the whipping boy, who is allegedly responsible for all that is currently wrong with the national game.
One post match internet report, claimed that there were ironic mocking cheers around the stadium after Hart pulled off his first save of the night.
That's crap!
The 'England's number one' chant was neither ironic or mocking, it was both heartfelt and genuine.
The media and pub bores will just have to find themselves another victim, because eighty five and a half thousand England fans blew the Joe Hart unpopularity myth out of the water tonight.
Mind you, the same media source that made those claims, also said that England haven't beaten Germany since 1977, so they're not exactly gaining a growing reputation for accurate and factual reportage.
Though Hart played well, there were some glaring shortcomings in England's attacking play at times.
Though I would hasten to add that Wayne Rooney gave his all, just as he had against Chile, but though he can lead the line well, he can't take opposition sides on single handed. 
The much heralded Daniel Sturridge didn't exactly pull any trees up tonight, though it would be wrong to single out any individual player for criticism from what was in truth a fairly lacklustre team performance all round.
Steven Gerrard saw his effort skim narrowly over the crossbar and the ever lively Andros Townsend thumped a crashing shot against the upright, but other than that, the grim statistic that England didn't actually register a single effort on target all night, pretty much sums up, what sort of a night this was.
As I've said previously, the results in warm up practice games don't count for anything, so I'll try not to be too despondent about England's loss tonight, but even though the passing and movement in the first half tonight, was a vast improvement on the pedestrian paced performance against Chile; once Germany went ahead and in particular once the multiple second half substitutions began, breaking up whatever limited sort of  rhythm the game still had, as a spectacle this disjointed encounter wasn't very good.
Optimistically, one can only hope that Roy Hodgson is tethering performances in these World Cup preparation games so that the team will peak at precisely the right time. But I'm not going to hold my breath in anticipation.
Realistically it is fairly obvious to me that getting through the group stages in Brazil will be an achievement in itself and anything more than that will be an unexpected bonus.
But I won't mind too much if I'm proved wrong.
Onwards and upwards, eh!?
Click here for --> England v Germany report from the BBC Sport website