I was there, a brilliant result (2-0 to England)

I was there, a brilliant result (2-0 to England)

By Peter J Arnold

I was there, I walked up Wembley way with all the other fans. We sang, we cheered, and some of us were even interviewed.

I got up there early, met a few Spurs and England supporters and then went for a drink, talked about the wonders of what Levy could bring us (not all were Levy fans), who could be our next manager, then into the stadium.

Once in, you could feel the electric charge going around the stadium. We could not wait until the whistle was blown. Once blown, our hearts were in our mouths.

When we saw Southgate’s team selection, our first thoughts were surprise, but then again, it was typical Southgate. He decided to leave the creative talents of Grealish and Phil Foden on the bench and picked teenager Bukayo Saka; starting him after his satisfactory performance against the Czechs ended up being a wise decision. Even though it did raise a few eyebrows amongst our group, we were confident that Southgate would get it right, and right he did.

Kane played a part in the opening goal as he linked up with Grealish and Shaw for Sterling to finish the job, but what was the magic moment was his own goal, which caused an uproar from the delighted fans. Grealish, so confident when he came on, sent in the perfect cross to find Kane in the six-yard area to head home.

Southgate switched to a three-man central defence with Kieran Trippier and Shaw as full-backs, and it worked as we kept a fourth clean sheet to maintain our brilliant record in the tournament.

But let us give credit to Pickford, as he was at the heart of it all, he had emerged from poor form at Everton to show precisely why Southgate’s faith has never wavered. He made vital saves throughout the tournament, but this game was his best as he raced from his line to block Timo Werner in the first half, then showed great strength to turn over Havertz’s rising drive with the scoreline even after the interval.

Another important figure was Maguire, who showed why Southgate regards him as necessary. John Stones another one adding an extra dimension at set-pieces and with his ability to bring the ball out of defence.

We must not forget Muller, who gave us our biggest scare when he strode through late on with the score 1-0, only for him to steer a low finish inches wide. We thought, this was it, they’ve got a goal back. Then, how did he miss it? If he would have scored, I think the game could have ended totally differently for us.

When he missed, Muller fell on the floor in total disbelieve; funnily enough, so did Sterling, but for different reasons. It was in relief, as it was his mistake that created the German’s opportunity.

England defeating Germany in a competitive game at Wembley was our first since the 1966 World Cup final. We had been winless in our previous three such encounters. Kane has now scored 30 goals for England under Southgate; in the national side’s history, only Lineker scored more while playing under a single manager (35 under Bobby Robson). Kane also equalled Wayne Rooney for goals scored at major tournaments for England (7), with only Lineker (10) and Alan Shearer (9) netting more across the World Cup & Euros for England at Euro 2004, in the quarter-final against Portugal.

After the game, we soaked up the atmosphere then left, with more celebrations afterwards. I got totally soaked in alcohol, in and outside (that is, it went well down the throat quickly) and then we all staggered home. Sadly we can not go to  Rome, but we will watch it on one of the big screens in London.

What a day, what a memory we will have for the rest of our lives.

Peter J Arnold.

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