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The Three Lions, yet to concede a goal in the tournament, h**d to Rome for the quarters

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 00:00 | By
Spain’s forward Alvaro Morata celebrates his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Croatia and Spain at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 28, 2021. Photo/AFP

London, Tuesday

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane fired England into the Euro 2020 quarter-finals as they sealed a 2-0 win against Germany that ended decades of hurt at the hands of their bitter rivals on Tuesday.

Sterling struck with 15 minutes left in a tense last 16 tie at Wembley before Kane clinched England’s first knockout stage victory over Germany since 1966.

In the 55 years since England beat the Germans in the World Cup final, the Three Lions had endured a painful litany of defeats against Die Mannschaft when the stakes were highest.

England were eliminated from the 1970, 1990 and 2010 World Cups by Germany, who also beat them in the Euro 96 semi-finals at Wembley.

But Gareth Southgate’s side have finally exorcised the ghosts of Paul Gascoigne’s tears and their own manager’s penalty miss 25 years ago.

England produced a gritty display capped by clinical finishes from Sterling, who now has three goals in the tournament, and Kane -- who finally bagged his first of the competition.

England, yet to concede a goal in the tournament, head to Rome on Saturday for a quarter-final against the winners of Tuesday’s other last 16 tie between Sweden and Ukraine.

Chasing a first major international trophy since 1966, England’s side of the draw looks wide open, with a potential semi-final against Denmark or the Czech Republic unlikely to strike fear into their hearts.

It was only England’s second knockout stage win in the history of the European Championship and their first victory over Germany at Wembley since 1975.

For Germany manager Joachim Loew, it was an agonising end to his reign as he prepares to step down after the tournament.

Always keen to deflect attention, Southgate will have relished his moment of redemption, especially since his decision to switch to a three-man defence to match up with the German formation paid off.

With the vast majority of the 40,000 crowd supporting England, the players walked out to a wall of sound that included a hostile reception for the German national anthem.

- Knockout blow -

England needed a tone-setting moment to ease their visible anxiety early on and Sterling provided it as he drove forward for a 25-yard blast that forced a fine save from Manuel Neuer.

With Harry Maguire winning a series of thunderous headers and tackles and Bukayo Saka probing intelligently on the right flank, England gradually took control.

However, Germany almost snatched the lead as Kai Havertz played an inch-perfect pass to Timo Werner inside the England area.

But Werner endured a dismal first season in front of goal for Chelsea and once again he was unable to produce a precise finish as he shot straight at Jordan Pickford. - AFP

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