When you train on Sir Bobby Charlton’s playground, it’s hard to escape the burden of past glory. And when Gareth Southgate is your coach, it’s even harder for England players to escape the grief that can come from playing Germany in a tournament. Southgate’s penalty shootout against Germany, which prevented England from reaching the final of the 1996 European Championships at the old Wembley Stadium. There was already a loss from
Germany on penalties at the 1990 World Cup. Twenty years later came the agony of the World Cup against Germany, linked to the injustice of a wrongly illegal goal.
No wonder the resumption of the rivalry with Germany on Tuesday in the round of 16 of this year’s European Championship evokes so many memories of past matches in England. But it may seem like a one-way rivalry.
In Germany, there is no point in correcting any mistakes from the past, despite the still unconvincing debate over whether Jeff Hearst’s decisive goal really crossed the line before Charlton and Co. lifted
WorldCup in 1966 at Wembley. Although Uwe Zeller said before the 33rd match between England and Germany on Tuesday, “this wound will always be there” by the team captain from 1966.
This final created England’s only major international trophy and a starting point in the nation’s history, beyond sport. Germany had already won the World Cup at the time – in 1954 – and had won three more titles since then before and after reunification.
Add three victories in the European Championship on top of everything and you see that Germany has many memories filled with glory, while England adheres to the nostalgia of 1966 and the subsequent heartache often caused by the enemy.
But it may seem largely former players and fans who feel the weight of the story.
“We have boys born in the 2000s, which is obviously scary,” Southgate said. “It doesn’t matter to them … what happened in 1990 and so on. Of course, they watch these things. “
Southgate played the cut-offs on it, missing the penalty in the semi-finals of Euro ’96 when they met for this European Championship.
“It’s not pleasant for him, but it’s good to get experience from your coach,” said England midfielder Calvin Phillips.
“You really don’t want to talk too much about it with Garrett, in case it’s too touching a topic.”
Like Phillips, German defender Robin Gossens was not born in 1996.
“Obviously I’ve heard a lot about it,” he said.
“The thought of it makes you feel good, and we want to do it again.”
Ask many current England players for their first memories of a match against Germany and this is the 2010 World Cup, when Frank Lampard’s shot crossed the line but was rejected, triggering the introduction of goal line technology. Thomas Müller has scored twice in Germany’s eventual four victories and the striker is part of Germany’s old guard of the 2014 World Cup champions and is still part of Euro 2020.
“It has nothing to do with Tuesday’s game,” Mueller said.
“Some people will be able to get some motivation from this.”
Today in the club game between England and Germany there is much more knowledge. There are German Premier League coaches with Jürgen Klopp in Liverpool and Thomas Tuchel in Chelsea, who were quickly accepted into England for their tactical intelligence and friendly public commitment in English.
“The charisma he has, a lot of people love him, even if you’re a neutral fan,” England midfielder Jordan Henderson told Klopp, his Liverpool coach.
“He played a big role in English football.”
Six of the German European Championship teams are playing in the Premier League, including the recently winning Chelsea duo of Kai Haverz and Timo Werner. Another member of Joachim Löw
Bayern Munich’s teenager, Jamal Musiala, changed this national qualification only this year, after playing for youth teams in Germany and England.
“It was definitely a pity he left,” said Mark Bullingham, executive director of the English Football Association.
In Germany, however, they are wondering if the Bundesliga player in the Southgate team will not start. The only statement of Borussia Dortmund winger Jaden Sancho so far was as a late substitute in the group stage victory over the Czech Republic.
“When I get my chance to play,” he said.
“I will show everyone what I can do. I know a lot of players in Germany. I play against them week after week. ”