Friday, 25 March 2016

Germany vs England

Pre-Match Analysis:

England and Germany, two of the greatest footballing nations go head to head in a friendly which should be very exciting for all viewers around the world. As the 2016 Euro’s creep closer, this major International fixture should be a good indicator on both sides current form and should give both sides an idea of any weaknesses within their squad.

England will have a lot to prove in the away fixture against Germany. With players such as Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart missing the game, the English side will need to turn to their youth to perform at the top level. The game will be a crucial moment for England to help select players for the Euro’s and should be a great chance for the players to prove their worth.

With their first choice Keeper picking up an injury, England have a selection of three keepers including uncapped, 29 year old goalkeeper Tom Heaton. The other options are Jack Butland and Fraser Forster who are both very good keepers. The England defence comes with a lot of youth including players such as Nathaniel Clyne and John Stones who are both very capable defenders and are likely to be played in the away game. The Midfield and attack are probably England’s strongest positions with players such as Vardy, Kane and Barkley. Despite the absence of many experienced players, we have seen on countless occasions that the English individuals are capable of putting on great performances. With a lot of key players being injured, the England side must play at the top level and must all be on their top form when facing the German side. With pace, skill and growing talent all across the pitch, the England side should still be able to put on a good performance.

2014 World cup winners Germany, will be missing Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger after injuring a knee ligament. The 31 year old will also be missing the fixture against Italy so can Germany manage without such a key player in their team?

Despite the injury, they still have a large selection of players to choose from including some of the world’s best goalkeepers such as Manuel Neuer and Bernd Leno. Neuer is considered by many to be the best keeper in current football so the English attack will undeniably have a tough time getting the ball past him. The German side also have outstanding defensive players including Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, who in recent years has sparked the attention of several top clubs including Manchester United. With midfielders such as Marco Reus, Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil, Germany have one of the greatest midfields in International football. With skills in all aspects, the English side will have some real struggles breaking play at the centre of the pitch so will need to put in a considerable amount of effort throughout the game. Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller is likely to be leading the German attack and is a proven goal scorer. With such depth and strength in their squad, we can all expect a good performance from Joachim Loew’s side.

Line-Up Analysis:

England’s line up looks very promising to what will be a very entertaining exhibition between two of the greatest footballing nations arguably in the previous 30 years. In stark contrast to Germany, all of the players selected by Roy Hodgson apply their trade in their domestic Premier League with notable selection Kane being the frontrunner for the highest goal scorer of the Premier League this season.

Butland starts in goal, after first – choice Hart’s injury that he endured during the Manchester derby has prevented him from being selected today. This is one of the first experiences for Butland to play against a world – class team, and potentially the foundations for a future career in the national squad.

Logically, Hodgson has chosen a back 4, consisting of Rose (LB), Cahill (CB), Smalling (CB) and Clyne (RB). Both Rose and Clyne could operate as wing – backs to strengthen the attack and allow the team to play with greater fluidity yet also accommodate spaces where the German midfield would be more likely to drop into rather than secure. Smalling’s physical and Cahill’s vocal presence is quite an asset in the absence of Terry and Gary Neville’s dictatorial history in those areas that kept England afloat on the international stage.

Henderson’s ‘consistent’ performances, as quoted by Jurgen Klopp in recent press conferences qualified a place for him in today’s line up. Hodgson will see today’s fixture as an experiment to tinker with the midfield, including the addition of Eric Dier in light of his consistency with the Spurs’ title charge. The only challenge will be whether Henderson can convert his League play on the international stage, as this would be more than vital on a stage such like Euro 2016.

The front three appears the most promising of the entire line – up. Lallana’s recent performances for Liverpool and his very good ball retention attributes will be key to counter attacks and possession play, the former being the current style of play and the latter being the more emphasised by the manager. Alli’s inclusion reflects the improvements of the Spurs youth system, as Tottenham manager Pochettino named him ‘one of the best young talents’ in the Spurs ranks. Welbeck’s return from injury has been reflected with goal – scoring performances, most notably with the deciding winner in the 2 – 1 win against Leicester several weeks previously. Hodgson has chosen a young trio in attack with the ability of pace and retention to be key to his possession yet intrusive philosophy of attack.

The lone striker up front has been selected as Harry Kane. It was a surprise amidst much speculation that Jamie Vardy – one of the most prolific goalscorers for Leicester at the age of 29 not to be handed a chance to score, although Kane’s consistency in Spurs’ title charge, and his physical presence appeared to outweigh the advantages for Vardy to be the starting striker.

It seems a surprise that Leicester players were not included in the starting line - up, including Drinkwater and Vardy. It may be that Hodgson may bring them forward as substitutes later in the process of the game, or that they will be given the opportunity to showcase their talent in the next game, against the Netherlands.

First Half Analysis:

England started positively in the first-half against Germany with Adam Lallana looking to threaten the German backline with his skill early on.

Despite England's good start, Germany had the first chance of the game but Sami Khedira's shot deflected over. Shortly after Gary Cahill went very close with a fine header, and it looked as if England could be headed for a brilliant perfomance.

Jack Butland made a great save before Dele Alli had an ambitious shot from 20 yards go over the bar. On 27 minutes Mario Gomez looked to have put Germany infront but late after the 'goal' had gone in the linesman ruled it out for offside but the German striker looked onside judging by replays.

England had been playing well with pace and were trying to grow into the game once more before Butland injured himself while clearing the ball and almost immediately after Germany were in and Reus' shot went in at the near post, but could've possibly been avoided if Jack Butland wasn't injured.

England now have to come from behind in the second-half and will need to put a huge shift in to get anything from this game with the world champions.

Second Half Analysis:

England's Kane and Alli kicked off the second half, the game starting pretty much as it left off. Germany also made one alteration .

Germany pressured England with a dangerous free kick in from Reus just inside the England half. Fraser Forster was able to deal with it though. England’s first chance of the half came as  Dele Alli broke forward and had a shot from 25 yards out, Neuer  was able to make a good save as he parries to his right and wide. Welbeck would have slotted it home if Neuer did not deal with it. Well, with Welbeck, anything is possible.

So far the German defence has been strong and shown organisation. The difference between two teams so far is intensity. German players look like they keep this tempo for ages whereas England players look like they will start to go after 70 mins.Another chance for the players in red as Welbeck worked really hard to keep ball in and then played the ball into Henderson whose shot is deflected. Alli is working hard for the team but catches Kroos after 56 mins. He did well to put the German under lots of pressure.

German score: 2-0!  57 minutes have gone and a brilliant finish from Mario Gomez. A delightful ball in from Khedira, over top of Cahill where Clyne cannot come across in time to cover. Fantastic leap from Gomez, who plays for Besiktas. Forster was absolutely helpless but it was a wonderful jumping header. It was a poor defending from England but once again Germany were clinical.

The German players are in control- they have too much time and space as Ozil fluffs a shot after 58 mins. Alli continues to run rings around German defence as he has been the best English player so far.

2-1!  A great finish from Kane after 61 mins. A corner from Henderson who then finds Harry Kane does a mini Cryuff skill and scores a fantastic goal inside the box! Brilliant! We are back in it. Watch out Rooney, Kane's coming to get ya! England seem to have gained some confidence from that goal. After 65 minutes the game was still fairly so it is important to see what substitutes Roy makes now.

England create another chance with brilliant play from England which nearly resulted in a goal. Combination between Alli, Kane and Welbeck. They opened up the German defence just lacked the finish needed (68 mins) lallana. Neuer saves with his feet

First changes for England, Vardy is on for Welbeck and Barkley is on for Lallana. Alli goes onto the left after 70 mins. Barkley now number 10 behind Kane. Can England get a goal? 2-2! England got themselves back in the game! Barkley picks up ball, out to the wing and then a cross with Vardy flicking the ball into the net. Fantastic ball from Clyne what a finish!!!! First goal for England that is one to remember! Roy definitely has some difficult decisions to make. Germany make a change as Poldoski came on for Muller now after 75 minutes.

England are back in it. Clyne was partially at fault for Germany's second fault but certainly made up for a wonderful cross for Vardy to finish exquisitely. 127 cap for Poldoski, great striker. So many stars in this German team: Neuer, Ozil, Schurrle, Kroos, Gomez, Gotze, Can, Khedira, Boateng to name a few.

England have deserved their goals and are now playing with freedom. It’s not every day you see Germany thwart a 2 goal lead. Another change for Germany as Mario Gotze comes on for Mario Gomez after 79 mins. Vardy and Kane look like they must lead our attack. Selection issues for Roy Hodgson

Alli misses a sitter after 84 minutes. He should be firing that it. Vardy sets him up but it was truly unlucky. He has been magnificent all game but should have put England into the lead. 3 mins of extra time and a corner from Henderson with a bullet header from Eric Dier. Absolutely brilliant! England have been superb a joy to watch in the second half. It has been so encouraging to see England beat the best.

England won the game 3-2 but it’s important to remember that it was only a friendly.

Individual Player Performances:

Goalkeeper and Defence:

Butland - 6
Unlucky to be injured, although produced a fine display during the time he was on the pitch.

Clyne - 8
The acceleration and the conversion from defence to attack proved too much for the likes of Hector and Can to handle. Also supplied various crosses that troubled Neuer.

Smalling - 7
Like Cahill, controlled the game, yet also took part in counter attacks. Provided Hodgson also with an attacking option down the centre of the pitch given if Cahill stays behind.

Cahill - 7
Quietly controlled the defence, alongside Smalling to silence the Germany front 4. Crucial in keeping the defence compact and cool – headed.

Rose - 8
The acceleration and the conversion from defence to attack proved too much for the likes of Hector and Can to handle. Also supplied various crosses that troubled Neuer.

Midfield:

Henderson - 8.5
Henderson was showing his abilities in leading a team as a reflection of his work at Liverpool. Also possesses a good skill at crossing the ball

Dier - 7.5
Not particularly involved in the game but done well to get the game winning goal 

Alli - 8.5
Alli today was the highlight of the show. Excellent ball retention and a very cool head. Maybe should've scored though and won the game earlier on.

Attack:

Lallana - 6.5
Not particularly involved in the game. Showed brief flashes of potential.

Kane - 9
Consistently taunted the defence. Made creative runs and him and Welbeck can be a force of reason for England in the summer.

Welbeck - 9
Along with Kane, consistently taunted the German defence and his pace made it even harder. 

Substitutes:

Forster - 7
Not involved much during the game. Could have done better in conceding his first goal at the Olympiastadion but a reasonable performance for an unexpecting substitute.

Vardy - 9
Classy finish, which was a reflection of his own performance this season in the domestic league. Well worth selection ahead of Rooney.

Barkley - 6
Not involved particularly in the game, although his runs behind the defence opened space for the other England attackers to penetrate and make chances from.

Overall Analysis:

England carried there superb qualifying form into the game against Germany. It was a young England team full of energy and crucially quality. It looked like it was going to be another one of those nights for England when Toni Kroos fired in a fierce strike from 25 yards to make it 1-0 to Germany with Jack Butland having to go off injured. It was a sorrowing moment for the young keeper who was visibly upset. From that moment England lost their composure and lost their positivity in their play. Mario Gomez made it 2-0 to the Germans latching onto a ball into the box and taking advantage of some static English defending.

England were so unlucky to find themselves 2-0 down they were the better team so it was a well deserved goal when Harry Kane pulled one back for England. The momentum swung in England's favour with Germany all over the place at the back. The positive England play was rewarded when that man Jamie Vardy made it 2-2. Surly there couldn't be any more drama? Well there was in the 89th minute Eric Dier thumps in a powerful header past the bewildered Manuel Neuer boom! 3-2 England not to bad was it?

This was an England performance that can give England fans real hope going forward. This young team has something special about it. At the heart of it are 3 players from Spurs Dele Ali, Harry Kane and Eric Dier the whole England team seems to mirror the same energy those 3 players are part of every week at Tottenham. This England team has a real spirt. There has to be a real spirit to be able to come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the home of the world champions. The real tests will come at the Euro's where this team will need to perform at a tournament unlike previous England teams but this is a result England fans can savour.

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