Germans highlight gulf in class as England disappoint

November 20, 2013 in International by Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah

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13 years ago, a German man scored from a set-piece to condemn England to losing in their final game at the old Wembley.

Yesterday, a German man scored from a set piece at the new Wembley to condemn England to losing their final game in 2013.

There, the parallels end.

For starters, the loss in 2000 was a competitive one with a team that was (on paper) better than the Germans. Yesterday was the best XI England could muster against the German B team. Back then, England expected; today even the most optimistic fan can only hope.

And that’s because after the disgraceful end at the old Wembley, England picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and went to Germany’s backyard to stomp them 5-1 in one of the most famous results in the national team’s history. And they did that because they could.

This team, though, they may not get another stab at Germany, and does not look like it could do anything anyone would mistake as heroic. They’re naive in defence, unbalanced in midfield and toothless in attack; despite what Roy Hodgson thinks, England didn’t get a single shot on target last night.

townsend england germany

However, there’s no need to panic, right? Despite losing at home in back-to-back games for the first time since 1977, England made the World Cup and that’s all that matters.

That is, until you realise England have one more game before 23 disappointments football players board the plane to Brazil.

Hodgson is in charge of getting his players to win football games, but you have to wonder certain things. Why have England seem to have gone from an embarrassment of riches in certain positions (particularly at centre back) to nearly no viable choice? What, exactly, is his great game plan for the difficult conditions he will find in South America? And does he even know what his best XI are? I don’t. I just know that Joe Hart will be in goal, regardless of his worsening form and shocking decision making.

In fairness to the England of 13 years ago, it took a change in manager and philosophy before they popped over to Munich to indulge in ritual humiliation. And as it was found out in 2012, a change that great just before a tournament can be really destabilising.

So roll on August 2014, where after an early exit, the FA will no doubt pick another clown to make heads or tails of Hodgson’s legacy.

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