England Finds Germany's Achilles Heel at Last

Published June 18th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Germany's defeated players were left stunned Saturday as a 34-year winning streak against England in competitive fixtures was ended by a 1-0 Euro 2000 Group A defeat. 

England skipper Alan Shearer had an otherwise quiet game against the defending champions but, crucially, he was in the right place at the right time to head home a David Beckham cross in the 53rd minute. 

Before this match, England had played Germany 14 times since beating them in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley. England had won just two of those matches, in 1975 and 1985, but they had not won in six competitive matches since then. 

The three most famous of those six losses were in the 1970 World Cup quarterfinals in Mexico, the 1990 World Cup semifinal in Italy and the Euro 96 semi-final, again at Wembley. 

England also went some way to prove they can beat world class opposition at the highest level. Germany are only the second team they have ever beaten away from home in European championship finals. 

The other team have beaten Spain in 1968 and 1980, making just three victories on foreign soil in the finals of this competition. 

Mehmet Scholl, who had the two best chances for Germany in either half, said: "We gave 200 percent. What more can we do? The English played better and better as the game went on and we just couldn't score and that made the difference. 

"We just did not put away our chances and I had two of them. At this level, when you do that you get punished and that's what happened to Germany today." 

Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann continued the theme of missed opportunities. "We missed a few chances in the first half and then from then on we just could not put the ball in the net. 

"I think certain players today would have to ask themselves about their performance." 

Hamann picked out his Liverpool clubmate Steven Gerrard, who put in a good performance in midfield after coming on during the second half, as a real player of the future. 

"I wished Steven all the best for the rest of the tournament. He kicks a ball well, heads well, runs well, in fact he can do everything and has a great future. He certainly played extremely well in this match and showed just what he can do," said Hamann 

Defender Thomas Linke, who started against Romania but was dropped for this match, said: "We played well up front and a few chances went begging. We had a small chance to win this match and never gave up hope but the English defended well." 

Carsten Ramelow, who also did not appear in the game, said: "We were in with a fight but we just couldn't score, -- (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

You may also like