A thrilling second half at Wembley highlighted what was otherwise a pointless dead-rubber match between old rivals as England and Germany fought to a 3-3 draw in the penultimate UEFA Nations League Group A3 clash between the pair of continental giants after both ran out to frustrating losses on Friday night.
With Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions consigned to relegation to Nations League B after their 1-0 loss against Italy in Milan, a 3-3 result hardly seems all that bad on the surface as both nations took two points off each other, with Germany left with nothing to play for on the night after their own frustrating result three days ago in Leipzig when they were blanked 1-0 by Hungary.
Goals from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount, and Harry Kane canceled out Germany’s 2-0 lead after Ilkay Gündogan scored from the spot in the wake of Harry Maguire taking down Jamal Musiala in the box to make it 1-0 before the Germans doubled thier lead through a lovely goal from Chelsea’s Kai Havertz.
But England would fight back after the aforementioned Mount and player of the year Bukayo Saka were introduced, with the Arsenal starlet at the center of it all for his country while being directly involved in all three attacking moves including adding an assist to his national team CV.
Germany would not be denied of a share of the spoils, however, with Havertz bagging his brace in the dying embers of proceedings in the capital in a result that perhaps best encapsulates where both continental giants are at in their evolutions in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
For captain Harry Kane, however, it was a much better performance despite what was a dire opening 45-minutes.
“That was a lot better. Thought we played really well. We were unfortunate to go 2-0 behind. A mistake and a great goal from the edge of the box. We did really well to stay into the game and get the lead, then unfortunately another error. But the fight in the team, the mentality we showed … we didn’t get the win but we can be proud of what we have done, and it puts us into a good place going into the World Cup.”
“A shame we couldn’t get the win, but we keep going. A busy six weeks or so, then we get ready for the World Cup! This will put us in a positive mindset going forward. We’re going to have to be ready. We know we still have to improve.”
England Player Ratings
GK: Nick Pope (5) - A frustrating night for the Newcastle shot-stopper. Once Pickford is fit, the Everton man will be back in goal but one has to wonder if Ramsdale deserves a serious look after his form for Arsenal.
RCB: John Stones (6.5) - Removed before halftime due to injury. Remains one of the most reliable options for England at center-back, despite questions in other parts of the back line.
CB: Eric Dier (6.5) - Probably will be viewed as a starting piece for Southgate this winter on the back of strong club form. He was better than Maguire and Walker, and will likely keep his place in the center of the back three.
LCB: Harry Maguire (5) - Poor again from Maguire, perhaps unexpectedly. Benched at United, faith placed in him by Southgate continues to be questioned as he was directly involved in two of Germany’s goals tonight, including taking down Musiala for the penalty.
RWB: Reece James (7.5) - Debates aside about Trent Alexander-Arnold, but Reece James remains probably England’s most balanced option at right-back and provided a good display again here, with an assist to top it off.
RCM: Declan Rice (6.5) - He may not be exactly the same in terms of his contributions when he was deployed alongside Phillips, but Rice is still the best central option in the player pool apart from Bellingham.
LCM: Jude Bellingham (7.5) - A must for England moving forward in the center of the park. His multi-faceted player profile, technical craft, and ability to get forward offer far more than the likes of Phillips, Henderson, et al.
LWB: Luke Shaw (7) - A well-taken goal for Shaw highlighted a good performance from the Man United left-back. Questions of whether he should start over Chilwell remain but he was solid overall.
RAM: Phil Foden (6) - Foden for Manchester City and Foden for England are two entirely different players. Not many will have to wonder why as the City star was average at best tonight.
LAM: Raheem Sterling (6.5) - Registered the most shots for England tonight and looked like one of the only players capable of perhaps making a difference in an otherwise dire collective performance.
CF: Harry Kane (7) - Another goal for a player who looks destined to become the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer. Improved in the second forty-five and capped it off with a thunderous effort from the spot.
Sub: Kyle Walker (6) - Thrown into the mix when he replaced his clubmate John Stones in the first half but was never more than serviceable. Should eventually be moved on from after this winter.
Sub: Mason Mount (7.5) - Part of an immediate response package by England on the night and scored a lovely goal to cap off a strong night off the bench. Should possibly be in contention for a starting job.
Sub: Bukayo Saka (8) - Offered pace and direct play since his introduction and it paid off when he found Mount for the Chelsea stars’ equalizer with fifteen minutes remaining while also being involved in all three of England’s goals. A big impact.
Sub: Jordan Henderson (N/A) - Came on in stoppage time.
Germany Player Ratings
GK: Marc-André ter Stegen (6) - Decent enough but has never come good for Germany in the same light that he has in his club career. There is a reason Neuer is still vital for his country and will remain the same in Qatar.
RB: Thilo Kehrer (6.5) - A move to West Ham has given the former Schalke standout a chance to resurrect his career after a torrid time at PSG and has started well at club level, which somewhat carried over into tonight. He was fairly okay.
RCB: Niklas Süle (6) - Lauded at Hoffenheim, which netted him a move to Bayern, but he has not been near as consistent for Germany as he has been at club level. Nothing more than average here.
LCB: Nico Schlotterbeck (5.5) - Has been immense at club level for both Freiburg and Dortmund, but really struggled tonight after being booked, giving a penalty away, and ultimately simply not having a good night at Wembley.
LB: David Raum (7) - Keeping Gosens out of the lineup speaks to how far Raum has come in recent months for club and country and put in another credible shift at left-back.
RCM: Joshua Kimmich (6.5) - Not his best performance for his country tonight, but even the elite can have a poor outing. Nearly scored a first-half blockbuster but overall he was average.
LCM: Ilkay Gündogan (7) - A solid outing for the Man City midfielder. Key for Germany in a similar vein to his role at club level. Should be alongside Kimmich in midfield in two months’ time.
CAM: Jamal Musiala (7.5) - Failed to get on the scoresheet in either capacity but the Bayern Munich wunderkind won a penalty to give Germany the lead and put in another performance indicative of a young man ready to star for his country.
RW: Jonas Hofmann (6) - Back in a familiar right-wing role after being shoehorned into a right-back deployment against Hungary, the Gladbach winger failed to deliver much in 45-minutes.
LW: Leroy Sané (6.5) - Lively but lacked some of the end product that Germany will undoubtedly be expecting from him if he is to keep a starting place in Qatar two months from now.
CF: Kai Havertz (8) - A brace for the Chelsea midfielder during a period of his club career that has offered more questions than answers. His ability to perform for Germany remains valid and this outing will bolster his chances to start in Qatar.
Sub: Timo Werner (6.5) - An assist off the bench for the RB Leipzig man tonight in a decent substitute cameo, but questions remain whether or not he will be trusted to lead the line in Qatar.
Sub: Serge Gnabry (6) - A sub-par 20-minute cameo from the Bayern Munich star but should still be just about guaranteed of a starting birth in the World Cup, position depending.
Sub: Robin Gosens (6) - Should really be losing his place to Raum if form is to be considered. Struggled in certain phases of play since his introduction but did grow into the match late on.
Sub: Thomas Müller (6) - A quiet night from Müller who was dropped from the XI in a dead-rubber fixture that meant nothing to Germany apart from some final selection questions for Flick.
Sub: Armel Bella-Kotchap (N/A) - Came on in the dying embers of proceedings but was rewarded with his first appearance for his country on the back of a very strong start at Saints since his move from Bochum.