It’s a fixture every English footballer dreams of playing a part in, but there’s room for just 26 men in Gareth Southgate’s most recent squad to face Germany and Lithuania in the next week or so.
The latter is a World Cup 2018 Qualifier, while the former is a friendly for the Three Lions to test themselves against a genuine tough opponent.
Plenty of players have stood out in this meeting over the past few years, and we’ve picked out a standout name from every clash since the turn of the millennium as we prepare for Wednesday’s fixture in Germany.
The two sides are evenly matched in their eight meetings since the year 2000, both winning four. Of course, our focus is on the best of the English bunch!
And we begin at Euro 2000…
June 17, 2000 – England 1-0 Germany (Alan Shearer)
It had been 15 years since the Three Lions had got the better of their greatest rivals. That’s a long time in football, and Alan Shearer had had enough.
53 minutes had passed without the deadlock being broken. Then came a delicious ball from David Beckham (how many times have we heard that?) which was met by the Geordie whose bullet header beat a helpless Oliver Kahn who’d celebrated his 21st birthday two days before.
Amazingly, neither side progressed from the group stages in that tournament.
September 1, 2001 (Michael Owen)
Who can possibly forget this one?
It’s not “they think it’s all over… it is now”, but it isn’t far off in terms of emphatic victories for England in this clash.
After losing in their 2002 World Cup Qualification match against the Germans on home soil, the Three Lions headed to Munich looking to exact revenge.
And boy did they do that…
The hosts went 1-0 up before England levelled through a goal which we simply can’t describe without the help of Ant and Dec…
“It’s Neville to Campbell, Campbell to Rio, Rio to Scholes’y, Scholes’y Gerrard. Gerrard to Beckham, Beckham to Heskey, Heskey to Owen, to goal.”
Owen then went on to grab another two in a famous 5-1 victory, becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in this fixture since Sir Geoff Hurst back in 1966. Kahn was in goal on that day, too. Poor thing.
No one has repeated that feat since, but will that change this week?
November 19, 2008 (John Terry)
No sign of Kahn this time, but that it was another fine result for England on German soil.
After taking the lead through Matthew Upson in the first-half, the visitors in truth should have been comfortably ahead but for a mishit by Darren Bent after rounding the goalkeeper.
What followed was a calamity all around on England’s part at the back, involving John Terry and Scott Carson.
A nothing-ball was lumped forward and the skipper just wasn’t on the same wavelength as the shotstopper, who made things worse for Terry by being largely indecisive in coming out to clear the ball.
Patrick Helmes took advantage of the miscommunication between defender and goalkeeper, nipped past Terry, put the ball through Carson’s legs and ran in behind to slot the ball into an empty net.
We know what you’re thinking: what’s so good about that?
Well, Terry ended up being the hero, netting an 84th minute winner after getting on the end of a Stewart Downing cross.
“That’ll do” said Clive Tyldesley in the commentary box, and it’s enough to make our list.
March 26, 2016 (the whole squad)
In truth, it’s hard to pick out one player in particular here.
Granted, it was only a friendly, but this was undoubtedly one of the greatest England comebacks in recent years.
2-0 down with 30 minutes left in Germany against a side who were among the favourites to win Euro 2016, nobody expected Roy Hodgson’s men to turn things around.
But this was another chapter in the Jamie Vardy story of last year, and he netted his first England goal against Die Mannschaft, a strike which was the equaliser in this incredible comeback.
Even more impressive was the fact that Vardy had only been on the pitch for three minutes.
And then, with the travelling supporters delighted with the draw, England achieved the unthinkable.
A 90th minute corner taken by Henderson was met by the head of an in-form Eric Dier, and the country went wild.
The squad has been chosen. The players will meet up early this week. Can they extend Southgate’s unbeaten start as boss?
It’s 10/3 for England to get the win – but will we be writing about this performance in years to come?
Let’s hope so!
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