England roared back from 2-0 down to lead Germany only to concede late on as the two sides played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in a remarkable Nations League game at Wembley.
After a first half which saw England create the better chances, Germany were awarded a penalty six minutes into the second period after Harry Maguire tripped Jamal Musiala in the box. Match official Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot after viewing the incident on the pitchside monitor following a VAR review.
Ilkay Gundogan made no mistake from the spot, as he passed the ball coolly into the corner of the net to give Germany the lead.
The visitors then doubled their advantage in the 67th minute, as Kai Havertz bent a beautiful curling strike into the top corner from outside the area past a helpless Nick Pope, which left England staring at yet another defeat.
Just five minutes after Havertz’s strike, Luke Shaw saw his scuffed shot at the back post crawl into the net past Marc-Andre ter Stegen as England grabbed a lifeline.
The introduction of Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka sparked the Three Lions into life, as the pair added some attacking impetus in the final third. Both of Gareth Southgate’s substitutes combined as Mount put England level in the 75th minute. The midfielder rifled home a brilliant first-time strike into the corner of the net from inside the penalty area, following some great work from Saka, who provided the assist.
Late drama then ensued, as England were awarded a spot-kick of their own with nine minutes of time remaining. Nico Schlotterbeck caught Jude Bellingham with a late challenge on his ankle inside the penalty area. Once again, after a VAR check which saw the incident get viewed on the pitchside monitor, the penalty was given.
Harry Kane stepped up with poise to bury the resulting penalty into the top-left corner of the net to score his 51st international goal, which sent the Wembley crowd wild into celebration as they thought an astonishing comeback was complete.
But their joy was short lived. England were not able hold out for a famous win as Pope spilled Serge Gnabry’s shot from distance right into the path of Havertz, who had an easy tap-in to score his second of the night as Germany dramatically found their equaliser with three minutes of time remaining.
England’s relegation from Nations League A3 had been confirmed before the result, and they finish their campaign without a win from their six group matches. Germany finish second from bottom with Italy topping the group following their 2-0 win over Hungary.
TALKING POINT – A MUCH IMPROVED ENGLAND PERFORMANCE
After squandering what would’ve been a famous comeback win from two goals down, there will understandably be disappointment from the England bench, as it was a sloppy goalkeeping error which saw a famous victory under the Wembley arch snatched from their grasp.
On a positive note, though, this was a much better England performance, and after all the criticisms of the showing against Italy, there seemed to be more of a creative spark in the 3-4-3 formation tonight.
Shaw was a standout player for England, and he linked up well with Raheem Sterling down the left-hand side. Jude Bellingham also played beyond his years in the centre of the park.
The key talking point, though, is that when the shackles were off and the game became more open when the result was being chased, England were able to carve out good opportunities, which will give Southgate a lot to ponder as all of his attention now turns to the World Cup in Qatar.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – KAI HAVERTZ
The Germany forward was his nation’s main focal point up front, and it proved to be one of those days that for the most part, he struggled to get into the game. However, a moment of individual brilliance stunned the Wembley crowd in the 67th minute, as he scored a goal for the highlight reel.
His awareness to be in the right place at the right time saw him capitalise on a goalkeeping error by Pope to score the easiest of tap-ins to equalise for Germany.
In total, the 23-year-old had two shots on target, made two successful tackles and won two aerial duels.
England: Pope 4, Stones 6, Dier 6, Maguire 6, James 7, Bellingham 7, Rice 7, Shaw 8, Foden 6, Sterling 7, Kane 7. Subs: Walker 6, Saka 7, Mount 7, Henderson 6.
Germany: Ter Stegen 7, Raum 7, Schlotterbeck 5, Sule 6, Kehrer 6, Gundogan 7, Kimmich 6, Musiala 8, Hofmann 6, Sane 6, Havertz 9. Subs: Werner 7, Gosens 6, Bella-Kotchap 6, Muller 6, Gnabry 6.
25’ – WHAT A SAVE! – Sterling is denied a goal here! Shaw plays a beauty of a through ball from deep on the right-side, which completely takes out three Germany players before finding Sterling in the box. He does well to check back onto his left foot, but his eventual shot is saved well by Ter Stegen, who gets down low off his line to tip it away for a corner!
52’ – GOAL! (Ilkay Gundogan penalty) – Maguire clips Musiala inside the box, and it is going to VAR for a penalty check. The contact looks clear, and the referee is viewing the pitchside monitor. He awards the spot-kick! Gundogan then tucks home a delightful penalty into the bottom-right corner as he passes it into the net. Germany have the lead, and Maguire will be kicking himself.
67′ – GOAL! (Kai Havertz) – The visitors go 2-0 up! The ball is lost on the edge of the England penalty area, and Germany break with pace. It then is played from midfield towards the left half-space for Werner, and the forward opts to cut inside onto his right foot and he picks out Havertz just outside the box to his right. The Chelsea forward then does brilliantly to bend a beautifully curled strike into the top-left corner of the net as Wembley falls silent.
72′ – GOAL! (Luke Shaw) – Can England make a miraculous comeback? The Three Lions have their first goal from open play in more than 500 minutes! Bellingham wins the ball back in midfield and plays a forward pass for James, who is slightly inverted to his right. Saka is on the overlap and then gets the ball from his team-mate on the right hand side. The Arsenal man then plays the give-and-go back to James and the wing-back whips a delivery towards the back post. Shaw is in a pocket of space and chests the ball down, before hitting a scuffed strike into the net despite Ter Stegen getting a hand on it! It definitely crosses the line. Game on.
75′ – GOAL! (Mason Mount) – Mount makes the impact England have been looking for! Some good work from Saka down the right sees him play the ball into the area for Mount to strike, and the Chelsea man drives a powerful strike into the net past Ter Stegen! The complexion of the game has changed!
82′ – GOAL! (Harry Kane penalty) – What a massive decision! Schlotterbeck catches Bellingham late on the ankle inside the box, and after a check on the pitchside monitor, the referee points to the spot! Can Kane score here to raise the Wembley roof? He can. The forward smashes his penalty into the top-left corner past Ter Stegen into the top-left corner of the net! What a superb penalty and England take the lead! That is his 51st international goal.
87′ – GOAL! (Kai Havertz) – Gosens wins the ball back on the left flank, and he plays the it forward for Gnabry, who hits a low strike from 25-yards out towards the far corner, but Pope spills it! The rebound falls straight to the feet of Havertz, and he has an easy tap-in!