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‘Weakened’ England manage to hold World Cup champs Germany

While the first half belonged to Germany, England were dominant in the second as honours were shared!

SNS | New Delhi |

England managed to secure a creditable 0-0 draw against the reigning World Cup champions Germany in a high-profile friendly at the Wembley Stadium with both sides trading chances but eventually falling short and settling for a stalemate.

Gareth Southgate’s side had seen a raft of big-names pull out of the England camp in the build-up to the clash with Die Mannschaft and perhaps that’s why he opted to give the likes of Jordan Pickford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham their senior debuts.

Southgate’s counterpart, Joachim Loew, fielded a 3-4-3 formation for the tie against their traditional rivals, and their lineup was a mix of experience and youth. Marcel Halstenberg made his debut on the left flank for the World Cup champions but apart from the RB Leipzig man, there were mostly familiar faces in the visitors’ starting XI.

Germany were dominant in possession from the off, while England looked to hit them with pace on the counter and a fast start to the tie had many fans expecting an opener would be on its way soon.

Die Mannschaft winger Leroy Sane went close with either foot, hitting the side-netting with his right and the crossbar with his left as he looked to pick up where he left off with club Manchester City.

Jordan Pickford was by far the busier goalkeeper on the night and made a fine save to deny Timo Werner but as the rebound fell to Sane, a German goal seemed imminent. The backtracking Phil Jones came to England’s rescue as he cleared the City winger’s effort off the line and while the ball fell to Julian Draxler, the PSG man could not put his shot on target.

Phil Jones would then be forced to come off soon after that incident and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez replaced him five minutes before the half-hour mark.

Werner beat the offside trap late in the first-half to go one-on-one with Pickford, but the Everton goalkeeper once again made a fine save and gathered the ball before the RB Leipzig striker could pounce on the rebound.

As the interval neared, England woke up and had a chance when the lanky Abraham managed to take a shot from inside the box despite pressure from his marker and the deflected effort went just wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s post.

The Three Lions had a gilt-edge opportunity to take a shock lead at the stroke of half-time when Jamie Vardy was released by Loftus-Cheek. Instead of lobbing the oncoming ter Stegen, Vardy opted to pass it to strike partner Abraham but didn’t get the cleanest of connections and the Germans heaved a sigh of relief as they went into the dressing rooms deadlocked.

The second-half began as the first ended, with England dominant. Vardy got on the end of a Kieran Tripper cross but his downward header was saved by ter Stegen.

England continued to press and Eric Dier, captain for the night, would then flash a cross across the face of goal but Mats Hummels made an important clearance to deny the lurking Abraham.

Both managers made a spree of substitution after the hour-mark but neither introduction had the desired impact on the game.

Jesse Lingard, brought on in the final few minutes, had a solid chance in injury-time but somehow put his effort over the bar after Harry Maguire headed Marcus Rashford’s free-kick back across the goal.

England, who finished their World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten, now face Brazil on Tuesday night in another high-profile friendly in their final international game of the year.

Germany have a mouthwatering clash with arch-rivals France on the horizon, for their clash with Les Blues will be seen as two of Europe’s finest sides going head-to-head.