England went up against a weakened Germany side in arguably the biggest test before the World Cup finals.
Roy Hodgson and his men started incredibly strong and were in control for much of the first half. The inability to provide any quality in the final third was worrying and it came back to haunt them when German skipper Per Mertesacker towered above three Manchester United players to head in the first goal. E
England lost their grip on the game, and when the first half ended it looked like twice the effort hadn’t been enough to get the better of a German side strolling around in second gear.
The second half started strong with both teams showing good qualities and high quality movements. The half dragged on without a goal, and the longer it went without a goal the worse the quality got. Germany ended up playing the game like a training session passing the ball around seamlessly around the defence and midfield but with no intention of forcing men forward.
The game showed the difference between the two countries, if it wasn’t obvious enough. A depleted German side without the likes of Schweinsteiger, Khedira and Ozil in particular were still able to control the play and dictate the game.
Joe Hart – 7/10 – MOTM – It would have been more if not for the Manchester City goalkeeper coming to life and making some great reflex saves. It wasn’t a seamless performance and there was a few errors of judgement from him, but nothing that cost the side.
Ashley Cole – 7/10 – The Chelsea left back was one of England’s better performers in the first half, defended well and offered quality going forward. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the impact he would have liked after his spell at the team but played well.
Chris Smalling – 5/10 – Uncomfortable defensive performance that saw him come off second best a lot of the time. The indecisiveness and naivety is a cause for concern, especially if he is to be first choice for the World Cup.
Phil Jagielka – 6/10 – Definitely the better of the centre backs on the night. The Everton defender played some lovely balls around the pitch as he added another dimension to England’s play. Defensively he had a few hiccups but was largely competent in this aspect.
Kyle Walker – 5/10 – Final ball was lacking severely, and the overall quality wasn’t at his best. He found it difficult to make an impact and his abrasive attacking approach was easily dealt with through-out.
Steven Gerrard – 7/10 – The England skipper had England’s best chance in the first half when he saw his 25 yard shot flash over the bar. A constant combatant in midfield, he worked hard for the side and kept the ball moving.
Tom Cleverley – 5/10 – Manchester United’s midfielder was largely disappointing, despite a few nice touches and passes for the most part he was found being caught heavy in possession and careless with the ball.
Andros Townsend – 6/10 – The Tottenham winger had a torrid first half coming up against one of the best full-backs in world football, who found Townsend easy to mark out the game. Fortunately, the Dortmund player was brought off at half-time for Jansen and Townsend had a bit more on him, coming close to scoring mid-way through the second half.
Adam Lallana – 6/10 – After a slow first half where he struggled to get into the game, the Southampton midfielder came into his own in the second offering some very good touches and came close to breaking through for England with a world class turn in the box.
Daniel Sturridge - 5/10 – It just didn’t seem to work out for the Liverpool striker, who couldn’t transfer his form from club level to international. He showed glimpses of quality and nice touches, but his overall impact on the game was quite poor.
Wayne Rooney – 7/10 – The Manchester United front man showed some good touches and ability, in the end will be frustrated with the quality of service from his fellow countrymen. The former Everton striker would have no doubt been looking forward to putting some comments to bed about his ability.
The substitutes came on and were largely uninspiring and didn’t really do anything to change the outcome. Jordan Henderson was the pick of the bunch as he produced a match-winning pass that Sturridge unfortunately goofed up.
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