Johnson Terry Upson ACole
Milner Lampard Barry Gerrard
Lahm Friedrich Mertesacker Boateng
Müller Özil Podolski
Müller 67' 70'
Isn't football fun?
Thanks to those two second half goals on the break with England over-committed, Germany are deserved winners, but let's still get 1966 out of the way now. 1966's "Wembley-tor" was a decision by inches. Today's strike was a yard over the line. 2-2 at half-time could have completely changed the game, but yes, that's football. Let's thank Sepp Blatter for keeping our game pure as driven snow by refusing video replay or Hawkeye technology.
And yes, were Terry and Upson able to defend in the first third of the game, it might be moot. "Schoolboy defending" is offensive to schoolboys everywhere. Upson looked shell-shocked to be there (and redeemed himself with his very good header), while Terry was stupidly caught up-field on both goals, evidently under the impression he was a midfielder. Until England pulled one back, they all looked every bit the tactically inept, overpaid wankers everyone loves to portray them as.
But then Upson scored from Gerrard's cross on a short corner, and England should have been level seconds later when Lampard's chipped shot hit the crossbar and bounced three feet over the line. But with the linesman 30 yards up-field and the referee with his head up his ass, Neuer was able to collect as if nothing happened. England righteously huffed and puffed for the rest of the half, but were unable to recreate the heroics which should have seen them level as the Germans admirably regrouped.
And in the second half, after Lampard again thumped the crossbar in the 52nd minute, Germany punished them like unruly teenagers who stole the family minivan when England sent men forward in an attempt to equalize. Within a span of three minutes, it went from 2-1 to 4-1 after Müller scored twice. First, Schweinsteiger found the Munich striker open on the right after Barry was undressed just outside the German penalty box, thundering a near post shot that James couldn't keep out. Then, after a long punt forward, Özil ran at, then past, Barry – the only defender in the England half until Ashley Cole attempted to sprint back – before centering for an easy tap-in. Game well and truly over. The final 20 minutes were a mere formality; the only question whether Germany could mirror the 5-1 scoreline from World Cup qualifying in 2001. When your response to a three-goal deficit is to replace Defoe with Heskey, you shouldn't even bother.
There's little point discussing tactics in a match like this, but it was further proof that England's 4-4-2 does not work on the big stage. Gerrard on the flank left massive gaps exploited in the first two goals. England were flat, unable to pick up Özil, and easily beaten in defense. Rooney looked lost whether partnering Defoe or Heskey. Gerrard should have been behind Rooney as a lone striker, Joe Cole should have been in the team from the beginning. But I may be biased having sounded that note for weeks now.
The question is where England goes from here. The majority of this generation – Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Terry, James, Joe Cole, Heskey and potentially Ashley Cole, among others – will probably be too old for the 2014 tournament. A few won't even make the next Euro squad. I'm tempted to suggest Capello's gone as well, but that's probably more in the hope England hires Hodgson so Liverpool doesn't.
Needless to say, there will be questions asked, both of England and of FIFA, and deservedly so.
Ze Germans. It's always ze Germans.