Bukayo Saka is bringing England back to life after Germany capitalized on familiar defensive flaws

London – That doesn’t mean the 70 minutes that went by didn’t happen, let alone the previous five games that meant it England She had already been relegated from the Nations League. A little about England’s thrilling fight to turn from 2-0 down for a while Germany to 3-2 necessarily leads to be repeated in Qatar Within 56 days.

But at least for a moment, the sun set through the clouds that had gathered over English football in recent months with a 3-3 draw with Germany as the win was nullified. Kai Havertz. The team that felt pain when watching it reminded the audience of why they fell on heels last summer. Who knows if it will last until the World Cup and when the sniping of Gareth Southgate’s negativity will resume. Right now, however fleeting it may be, this bond is worth more than two points in this second-tier competition.

How fitting it was that the man who reformulated this connection should be a world-renowned player in this part of London. The Wembley crowd chanted no louder than any name Bukayo Saka Even when England’s Player of the Year was off the bench. It was easy to see why. As soon as Saka and Mason Mount Up front, there was a punch and a lively England game that has been missing since then, well, you might have to go back for a 4-0 win over Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.

In three minutes the results were even, Luke Shu hit the back post after finding Saka Rhys James in transit mode. Next, Arsenal No. 7 drove across the German backline, climbing up to Mount to bend a superb first-time shot. Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Then it slides into the hanging Jude Bellingham In the penalty area, the clumsy Nico Schlutterbeek slipped into the back of his Borussia Dortmund teammate giving Harry Kane the opportunity to put England ahead with a penalty kick. Saka may have won it on death, managing to make a superb save from Ter Stegen in overtime.

touch up from Nick Pop, fickle on the ball and away from himself when it comes to stopping a shot, allowing Havertz to equalize couldn’t spoil the mood. Everything changed at Wembley, at least for those who stayed over an hour out of boredom. The Southgate changes fixed the problems caused by the Southgate selection.

But these issues are there and there on the other side. For most of this game creating a precious little, when it takes excellent passes like Shaw to beat Raheem Sterling in the first half, there is work to be done.

The England boss trusts the pound more than the financial markets, but a streak of two goals in 11 games since Euro 2020 means it’s at least worth looking into the merits of Marcus Rashford, who can at his best offer similar qualities as a supportive striker. to his Chelsea counterpart. After another match in which he struggled to make a real impact, Phil Foden He can’t have a complaint if Saka starts his place against him Iran In the opening match of the World Cup.

Aside from their transition game, England had precious little idea of ​​what to do with the ball at their feet beyond hope Bellingham could beat a man or two. Often he can and his partnership with her Declan rice It has improved as this game continues. The biggest problem may be getting the ball to them in the first place.

Looks like Bob beat Aaron Ramsdale in the race to be his first reserve Jordan PickfordHowever, the Newcastle player does not provide any progress with the ball to his counterparts at Arsenal and Everton. The tough moments in possession were one thing but it comes with goalkeepers who want the ball at their feet too. Perhaps most worrisome is how slow England were to get the ball out of their penalty area when they reached #1.

In the 19th minute, a goalless penalty kick came to Bob, who grabbed the ball for several seconds without any pressure, then rolled the ball a few feet away to John Stones. Immediately the German press was on England, an opportunity to take the ball up through a slow play at the back. Add to that his clumsy shedding Serge Gnabry It was a night the Pope forgot.

However, that was nothing compared to the turmoil Harry Maguire experienced. Even if you think Southgate’s commitment to those players he’s earned so far in previous tournaments is impressive, there comes a point when persevering with players in difficult circumstances is doing more harm than good. The boos that greeted his starting lineup seemed as much fuel for the fire as a grim warning of what was to come for the Manchester United captain.

A strong first half was quickly undone by three errors that added up to two goals for Germany. The first two were brutally basic. Maguire simply didn’t look up on his left exit, and gave possession to Jamal Musyala before hitting him to the ground as the Bayern Munich youngster beat him up. The 29-year-old defender may have slipped away from the possession privilege after 15 minutes but Havertz punished him with a superb header.

Maguire’s nerves after the opening match seemed contagious. Eric Dyerwho could be relied upon in the first half, was slipping through the grass in the second, and England momentarily searched for their place in an all-too-rare way before Euro 2020 ended with a grimace.

If the World Cup isn’t so close on the horizon, the solutions to what England ails might be even more obvious. There are options to replace Maguire but none from Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori Or Ben White had several minutes in a Three Lions jersey.

Likewise, if Southgate wants to return to the approach that led him to the World Cup semi-finals and second place in the European Championship – his selection of an extra defender in response to Friday’s loss in Italy suggests he is doing so – then he cannot afford it. Carry defenders who offer goals to their opponent. Southgate’s model (keep counting down shots for both teams and trust that the attackers or full-backs on a set-piece will have more chances than the opponent) requires a defense that can keep their opponent in the zone from 0.5 to one of the expected goals.

Southgate has strikers to turn games, even from seemingly doomed positions, but if England really want to make their mark on Qatar they need to make sure they have a six-defender that won’t demand their striker surrender what Saka did tonight.

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