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Euro 2020: Super-Sub Grealish inspires England into the final eight

The hoodoo has been broken.

For the first time since 1966, England have beaten Germany in the knockout stages of a major tournament, and booked their tickets to the quarter finals as a result.

This was no cakewalk however.

Germany threatened throughout the first half, while England looked to control, and you were hard-pressed to pick a dominant side from the contrasting approaches, the game being evenly poised at 0-0 when the half-time whistle sounded.

The second half began much in the same tune as the first, and extra-time beckoned until Gareth Southgate unleashed Jack Grealish in the final 20 minutes.

Grealish sparked the Three Lions, reinvigorating a lacklustre attacking unit and forming a matchwinning combination with Luke Shaw on the left edge.

Grealish and Shaw first combined to break the deadlock in the 75th minute, Grealish’s pass finding Shaw who played a dangerous ball across the mouth of goal for Raheem Sterling to finish.

The Grealish-Shaw combination linked again 11 minutes later to deliver the killer blow, this time Shaw finding Grealish who curled a precision cross onto the head of Harry Kane.

The goal was Kane’s first for the tournament, and will provide a much needed confidence boost for the England skipper heading into their quarter final tie with Ukraine in Rome.

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Germany on the other hand can only rue what could’ve been, a sweetly struck Kai Havertz rocket looked destined for the back of the net in the 49th minute, only to be tipped over the bar by a crucial Jordan Pickford fingertip.

But their greatest opportunity came barely minutes after England pulled ahead, Thomas Müller missing wide of the left post in a one-on-one with Pickford having been played past the England line by Havertz.

The miss sealed Germany’s fate, and means there’ll be no fairytale farewell for champion coach Joachim Löw, who announced he’d be stepping down after Euro 2020.

Nevertheless, Löw leaves an enviable legacy from his 15-year tenure at the helm of the powerhouse nation, which includes the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup titles.



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