There’s nothing like beating the defending World Champions to get your expectations up beyond imagination. England beat Germany. Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane scored. The Euros are right around the corner. However, it was only a friendly.
Germany led 2-0 with goals from Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez before a 30-minute blitz by the English side that included goals by Kane, Vardy and Eric Dier in injury time to claim a lucrative win for the Three Lions, but one that ultimately doesn’t mean a lot regarding how they’ll do in Euro 2016, hoping to erase their disappointing, yet expected campaign from the 2014 World Cup, when they won just one point out of a possible nine, failing to qualify from the group stage.
You could see both Roy Hodgson and Joachim Low took this match very seriously from the lineups they used and the few numbers of substitutions that came on. Kane, Ross Barkley and Fraser Forster. That was it for the English side. Low made four substitutions to the lineup that had Marco Reus, Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil playing next to each other behind Gomez, who is having a fantastic season at Besiktas, rebuilding his career.
England might finally have a team that seems to be more comfortable in international football. It might not be tactically innovative or genius, but that doesn’t win tournaments. Talent and tactics never hurt, but speed and the ability to create mayhem against less coordinated defenses than at club level might be even more important. Chemistry and teamwork, as cliche as that sounds, might go a longer way than playing two of the best midfielders in the world who cancel each other out.
Maybe England should be hyped heading into Euro 2016? They won 100% of possible points in the qualifying group. They’ve just beaten the world champions in a match that was played at an intensity that’s much higher than a regular friendly, which is never really too chummy between these too nations anyway. This English side probably represents the new Premier League, or at least tries to lean on something younger, fresher, newer and possibly a bit more fitting to how to succeed in international football, instead of the old recipe with familiar names (slowly retiring or being pushed away) that eventually got England nowhere.
Deserving or not, they’ll be pushed up and forward by the press and expecting fans as they always are. Few nations are as manic depressive about their national team as they are in England when it comes to the summer tournaments. There’s something so satisfying for fans and the media to build a team up even when it isn’t very good (or maybe especially when it isn’t very good) before tearing them down and getting a new manager to torment.