CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: England lost a second successive international for the first time in 20 years as they slipped up 1-0 here to Germany; embarrassingly, the lone goal was headed home from a setpiece corner by the Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, Germany’s captain on the night.
The match was the finale of the Football Associations 150th year celebrations. But just like when English football wanted to celebrate the end of an era at the Old Wembley in 2000 in a match against their familiar foes, Germany triumphed 1-0 again.
Albeit a friendly, the match was a chance for Roy Hodgson to shape his squad who will go to Brazil next year. There is only one more scheduled friendly against Denmark in March before Hodgson has to name his squad, equally so for the opponents who will face Chile.
The match started promisingly for England as they pushed the German defence back, with Andros Townsend showing his pace once again; Wayne Rooney had England’s first clear chance in the 20th minute but headed over the bar.
Yet the deadlock was broken by the visitors in the 39th minute when Mertesacker rose high from a corner to head the ball expertly past Joe Hart.
England’s No1 has endured a large amount of criticism recently due to high profile mistakes but had made two smart, earlier saves; he had no chance with Mertesacker’s goal.
In the second half, Hart was once again down well to deny Mario Gotze and bravely took a chance to clear the ball outside of his box when Chris Smalling hesitated.
England brought on younger players like Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley to try and ignite some creativity through the middle of the field but it was to no avail as attacks withered in the final third of the pitch. They ended the match without a single shot on target.
Of the 85,934 crowd at Wembley, around 1000-2000 Germany fans taunted England fans yet again with a chorus of: “Tt’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home.”