Years of despair. Decades of disaster. Eons of agony.
Now this is nothing but history, because England finally beat Germany again in a knockout match at a major football tournament.
“He is absolutely brilliant as an adult after seeing us continue to lose to the Germans for a while,” England fan Steve Line, a 61-year-old Milton Keynes gardener who made his way to Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, told the historic night. He’s already put him to bed, hasn’t he? Put him to bed.
Rahim Stirling and Harry Kane were the ones who did the hard work, scoring a goal to give England a 2-0 victory over Germany in the round of 16 of the European Championship.
The last time England beat a German team on such an occasion was in the 1966 World Cup final. Since then, there have been many heart losses, such as the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, the 1990 World Cup in Italy and the 1996 European Championships at Wembley Stadium.
The Germans beat England on penalties in those semi-finals of Euro ’96 and have been a source of pain for fans ever since.
“I remember the pain of 1996, when I was 12 and had to go to school the next day,” said Terence Michael Anthony, now a 37-year-old accountant in London. “I was hoping that in the end we would get revenge, but not 25 years later.
“When those goals came in, there was a feeling that a quarter of a century of emotion was pouring into the stands.”
Only about 40,000 fans were at Wembley to witness the epic victory as capacity was reduced amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the roaring crowd screamed and cheered twice as much.
The next England will play Ukraine in the quarterfinals of Euro 2020 on Saturday in Rome. If they win, the English will return to Wembley for a semi-final match against the Czech Republic or Denmark. The final is scheduled for July 11.
“I think it’s just a relief now that the draw is open, we have a real chance to reach the final,” said Richard Mills, a 36-year-old payment manager from London.
“It is good to turn to the Germans, we owe them. But this is not so much revenge. We are a huge football nation, we have to present ourselves at the highest level … England is there again with the elite. “
The place in the quarterfinals follows a run to the semifinals of the last World Cup in Russia and all this under the guidance of coach Gareth Southgate – a former England defender who knows everything about the history of the team with the Germans.
He missed the decisive penalty kick in the 1996 penalty shootout.
“Poor Garrett, but put him to bed,” Line said. “He’s a happy man now, so come on England.”