Per Mertesacker headed Germany to victory and dealt England a second successive defeat at Wembley. But hey, they're still going to the World Cup!
Hearty celebrations from the Germany players. Particularly from Per Mertesacker. For those who say Germany don't care about this fixture, I refer you to those images. They deserved their win and but for Joe Hart, it could have been by more. But England did play well here and there. Andros Townsend even hit the post! In the end, though, they were beaten by a better football team and that's usually what happens in this sport of ours. Thanks for reading. Night.
Once again, the home fans boos, because they are thick.
90 min+4: Four minutes was unnecessary, wasn't it.
90 min+3: Townsend, who can be pleased with his night's work, shoots high and wide from 25 yards.
90 min+2: Germany have the ball down in the corner and England no longer believe.
90 min: Germany are busy on the counter-attack now. Schurrle and Draxler combine to set up a shooting chance for Gotze, whose effort is deflected behind for a corner. There will be four minutes of stoppage time.
89 min: After some patient buildup play between Gotze and Daxler, the pair of them teasing England with their superiority, Sam ruins it all by slashing wildly wide from the edge of the area.
88 min: This game is now drifting.
86 min: Toni Kroos is the man of the match and I agree. He is so very good.
83 min: "Good evening Jacob sir," says Simon McMahon. "You're a football man, and you do the MBM. So I have a question. Do you think Mr Roy actually knows what he's doing? I mean, really knows? "
Well, he knows more than us, for a start. He also knows the limitations of the side and, if he was so inclined, could have them set up in the most defensive formation possible. But no one would get anything out of that, so England have had a go tonight, only to discover that Germany have better players in every position. No shame in that. They can take heart from this performance but there is a gap - it has rarely felt like Germany, who are without so many first-choice players, won't win this match.
82 min: Andre Schurrle replaces Marco Reus. Kyle Walker will be glad to see the back of him.
80 min: Barkley wins another corner, this time on the left. He takes it again; once again, it's a waste of time. But England keep Germany on the backfoot and Barkley finally gets a cross right, hoicking it to the far post, where Smalling's header hits Draxler's shoulder and goes behind. For a corner. Which. Comes to nothing.
79 min: Kyle Walker, quiet this evening, wins a corner on the right with a strong run. Barkley's corner is poor.
77 min: Sam dithers in possession and eventually falls over. Barkley, fresh and eager, then shows some neat vision with a good pass through to Townsend, who runs at the Germany defence and then turns the ball to Sturridge. He's almost in the clear but the pass doesn't have enough pace on it, allowing Jansen to recover. England have had a few of those nearly moments.
76 min: The Germany fans are cheering the passes now. England's respond with some pantomime booing and then some cheering after Gibbs trips Reus. That allows England to replace Adam Lallana with Rickie Lambert.
74 min: The way Germany can get themselves out of seemingly hopeless situations with just a couple of passes under pressure is certainly something to emulate. England simply cannot match that.
71 min: England replace Wayne Rooney with Ross Barkley. Rooney has been largely ineffective tonight. There's been a bit of an exaggeration about how well he's started this season. He still looks short of that spark to me.
69 min: What a chance for Sturridge! He was all alone on the edge of the area after being found by Rooney's astute pass but was unable to take the ball in his stride on the turn. An escape for Germany.
68 min: Germany really want to put this game to bed. Sam kuntz inside from the right and lays the ball off to Gotze,who chips the ball over the England defence and through to Sam, who gets there before Hart - only to send his lob inches over the vacant net.
66 min: Another change by the Germans, Julian Draxler on and Heiko Westermann off. Sven Bender goes to right-back.
65 min: Joe Hart redeems himself with a fine save from Gotze's effort. Gotze played a give-and-go on the edge of the England area with Sam, moves into space on the right and then sees his low drive towards the bottom corner palmed away by Hart. Germany then make another change, Hummels replaced by Benedict Howedes.
64 min: Jack Wilshere replaces Tom Cleverley.
63 min: England spring back into action, Rooney bursting down the left and cutting the ball back to Sturridge, whose shot is blocked. Then, up the other end, it's time for some Hart hilarity. A long pass is directed towards Gotze, but Smalling has it under control. Not according to Hart, though, because there he is, loitering outside his area. He flattens Smalling and is lucky the ball doesn't drop to a Germany player.
62 min: Germany have had the ball for a good few minutes now. It's tök-und-taka.
60 min: Germany decide it's probably best if they take the sting out of this for a few minutes.
57 min (part two): Andros Townsend hits the post! He kuntz inside from the right and lets fly with his left foot from 25 yards out, a vicious, awkward bouncer that whistles past Weidenfeller but bounces off the base of the right post and away to safety.
57 min: Mario Gotze is now playing as the False Nine. Or Nein. Ahem.
56 min: England replace Steven Gerrard with Jordan Henderson; Germany respond with Sidney Sam replacing Max Kruse.
55 min: The increasingly influential Gotze tries to find Westermann on the overlap but the pass is soft enough for Gibbs to step in, albeit at the expense of a corner. Once again, Mertesacker has a free header from Kroos's delivery but can't get above it, heading well over.
52 min: England are cooking all of a sudden! Lallana, a threat since the restart, almost wriggles through, but is denied by a crucial challenge. A corner, then. Before it's taken, Kieran Gibbs comes on for Ashley Cole. When it's taken, it's headed away.
50 min: What a start to this second half! Let off the hook, England counter down the right, Townsend inevitably at the heart of the move. He crosses to the far post, where Sturridge cushions the ball down and up into the six-yard box, where Lallana is waiting to head home - only to have the ball taken away from him at the last moment by Hummels! From there Germany break. Kruse turns and he does release Reus this time. He should shoot, but checks inside instead and then passes straight to an England defender. No idea what he was up to.
49 min: Oh Mario Gotze. He glides through the challenges as if they're not there, a dreamy piece of skill transfixing Cleverley, who can do nothing to stop himself being nutmegged. Jagielka's intervention only takes the ball through to Reus, but his drive is blocked by Hart.
48 min: Ashley Cole has his pocket pinched by Gotze, who speeds off into the distance before rolling pass inside to Kruse, lolloping through the middle. He should spot the very good run made by Reus and send the winger through on goal but he delays and delays and delays, before deciding to send the ball into orbit from 25 yards. Poor.
47 min: Gerrard's corner is headed away by Hummels. Back it goes to Gerrard. His cross is blocked but England refuse to go away, Rooney flicking the ball through to Sturridge. He's forced wide and his chipped cross is headed clear.
46 min: The second half begins. England are unchanged, while Germany have made two changes, Matts Hummels replacing Jerome Boateng and Marcell Jansen on for Marcel Schmelzer. Jansen is involved immediately, watching Townsend's zippy burst and jutting out a leg to concede a corner.
"Persecution Complex?" squeals Charles de Freitas, who begins every email with 'Sir'. "Surely you jest? A reading of my email would have noted the expression "gratifyingly featured as enemy du jour". It is, in fact, quite an honour to be featured as such among the Guardianista brigades and I am certainly not complaining about it as Mark Gillespie (8:36pm) seems to have inferred. Incidentally, seeing as how he also referred to the "self fulfilling prophecy", and apropos the last line of your opening rant... How d'ya like that France scoreline now, eh? Oh, and yes, I am popping about on all the MBM's as some of your reinforcements have noted... Skyving off from work to do so.
I suppose they'll want me fired for that."
The defending in that spell that led up to the Germany goal was awful. Giving away three free headers in the space of two minutes from set-pieces is so dozy. Chris Smalling was particularly culpable. In the ITV studio, Lee Dixon isn't happy with him.
"De Frietas is indeed approaching genius, but will have to watch his use of alliteration: his indignant contempt at the inability of our 'clique' to comprehend his intended lack of irony demonstrates that although he may be an American he must support France," notes Lou Roper.
"This Charles bloke is a right belter," says William Macpherson. "In my opinion he's confused a wonderfully informative and satirical paper with another paper that is quite often mocked by the Guardian. I'll give him a hint, the initials are DM, and it's not Danger Mouse. Do you think he's a big fan of Danger Mouse actually? Got to love Penfold's wit, although one could misinterpret it as a slight against the English?"
"As an expat living in Germany, I enjoyed your intro," says Julian Menz. "Selbstverarschung is a survival technique as an English fan here. My German mates even laughed when they read it. That proves they have a sense of humour (or they just feel genuine pity and are being nice).I was here for Euro 96, and have been verarsching myselbst ever since."
"Congratulations on losing the "casual" from your email address," says Neil Macknish. "Probably a bit late of me to say so but I have been out of the MBM loop a while as I moved half way round the world. I used to follow the MBMs into the early hours in my erstwhile position as an overworked drone in Singapore. Having now relocated to USA! USA! USA! I can enjoy my MBMs with a leisurely afternoon cuppa and a Hobnob. Lovely! I am intrigued by Mr de Freitas. He pops up on your MBM to complain, nips over to the Sweden/Portugal MBM as he is so disgusted by the style he has encountered and then pops back to reinforce his dudgeon regarding Guardianista cliques when he hasn't been reading anything but Guardian content for half an hour. He's really Glendenning stirring the pot, isn't he? Or is Scott Murray a stylistic outlier in Guardian Towers?"
Peep! Peep! The half ends with Schmelzer threatening on the left. England played well for half an hour and then the Germans decided to score. Looking at the goal again, Mertesacker got above Tom Cleverley to head home, Smalling having let him go.
44 min: Wembley has fallen a little bit flat since the goal. But this has the crowd on their feet again, Gerrard lacing one inches over from 30 yards. There was pace, there was swerve, there wasn't enough whip. Weidenfeller looked beaten.
42 min: All that happened very quickly. Germany had done nothing, really, and look at the scoreline. Typical, eh?
England can't say they weren't warned. Germany had already threatened twice in the air and there's no escape a third time. The first threat had come after Sven Bender bustled past Jagielka on the right, some desperate defending leading to a corner. From that, Mertesacker rose highest and nutted the ball goalwards, Hart saving superbly. Then he blocked the follow-up from Kruse. Another corner. From that, Westermann's goalbound header had to be headed away but Germany stayed on the attack, the ball was whipped in from the right again by Kroos, and Mertesacker raced in front of Smalling to direct a fine header past Hart and into the right corner. "Football's coming home," sing the Germans.
37 min: England contrive to lose possession in a dangerous position, Walker handing the ball straight to Kroos. Out it goes to Gotze on the right, the little German spinning away from Cole with a beautiful turn, only for Gerrard to steam back with a magnificent challenge, the ball ending up in Hart's possession.
35 min: "The last email was even better than the first," says Mark Gillespie. "My favourite bit was "among the clubby confines of the Guardianista clique". So you email a blog, and then complain when it's printed and discussed on the very same blog. Do you think Mr de Freitas needs the concept of the self fulfilling prophecy explaining to him?" We are being treated to the sight of a genius at work.
34 min: Affronted by my criticism, Germany have now had the ball for the last three minutes. But England are keeping them at bay, Jagielka in particular defending stoutly. And soon they counter, Cleverley releasing Sturridge down the right with a lovely, searching pass. But Sturridge takes too long to cross and ends up standing on the ball.
31 min: Gerrard hangs a deep corner towards the far post from the left but Jagielka heads over under pressure. England can be relatively pleased with what they have mustered so far.
30 min: The last few minutes have been immensely scrappy, passes going astray and first touches loose. Germany are the greater culprits, dallying in possession and allowing England to pen them in. It eventually leads to a corner, Boateng flicking a header behind as Rooney waited to pounce. Gerrard's corner is cleared but Townsend soon wins another on the opposite side.
26 min: Germany have decided they might as well wake up. Jagielka lets a long ball bounce and Reus steals in behind him on the right, only for his low centre towards Kruse to lack the requisite pace to take it beyond the covering Smalling.
24 min: Look who's back! It's our old friend, Charles de Freitas! "Just got back from the Sweden - Portugal MBM , and there I am, prominently (and quite gratifyingly) featured as the enemy du jour. No, my last email, was not satire. It was indeed meant from the heart, and the fact that you have seen fit to defensively sneer at it among the clubby confines of the Guardianista clique simply confirms my view of the original contents." That's quite the persecution complex you're developing there, Charles - you against the world, man. Must get tiring.
22 min: England are the better side at the moment and almost undo Germany with a clever throw-in routine. With Cole looking for someone to chuck the ball to, Lallana suddenly peels off his mark, reaches the byline and chips a cross into the area that is headed away as far as Gerrard, 30 yards out. He wonks it miles over with the volley. "I've been laid low by the lurgy for the last few days and after three days trapped in Sawyer Towers (three days trapped in Sawyer Towers - think about that, Jacob) I'm going a bit stir crazy and am desperate for a bit of social interaction," says Phil Sawyer. "So I'm emailing the MBM. Ye gods, that's pretty bleak now that I've seen that written down. I might cry for a little bit." Everyone else cry to make Phil feel better, please.
20 min: Ashley Cole, whose place is under threat from Leighton Baines, breaks forward and sends in a cross that Rooney heads harmlessly over. It was a little too high for him. He was always straining to reach it. Meanwhile Anna Pons lets me know that South Africa are beating the Travelling Spanish Roadshow. See, it could be worse.
19 min: When England click, they're playing some fairly promising football. Sturridge, who hasn't been involved that much yet, livens things up with some nifty footwork and then, perhaps a bit too pleased with himself, flings his left arm up in the air as if to direct where his team-mates should run. Eventually, after some intricate passing, the ball is worked out to Walker on the right, his low cross into the six-yard box hacked clear with Sturridge lurking.
17 min: Kruse is seeing very little of the ball in Germany's attack but that's because Gotze, Kroos and Reus aren't doing much to influence the game. Nor, to be fair, are England's forwards. On the right, Rooney aims a cross towards Sturridge but doesn't wrap his foot around the ball properly and out it goes for a goal-kick, the forward raising a hand in apology towards his fellow striker partner.
15 min: There's not a great deal going on. England try the possession thing but it doesn't work out and Cleverley ends up having to crunch Reus, who rolls about a bit and then gets up again.
13 min: A Germany free-kick, over on the left touchline and around 40 yards from goal. Kroos curls the ball into the area and Westermann glances wide from 15 yards out.
12 min: England occasionally look dangerous. First a header drops at the feet of Townsend, who has space 30 yards out. He moves ominously on to his left foot, elects not to shoot, but can't find Lallana on the left of the area. No matter, because England press again. Townsend drives in from the left, the German defence backtracking, and slipping a pass to Rooney, who was overlapping. Rooney tries to knock a pass back to Townsend but his aim is awry.
10 min: After another spell of German possession, England break at speed, Townsend finding Sturridge on the right. Isolated and facing three German defenders, he tries to curl an ambitious effort into the far corner with his left foot but there's no way past Schmelzer.
8 min: Gerrard Hollywoods a 60-yard pass straight out of play.
7 min: For the first time, Germany take control of proceedings, Gotze dropping deep and weaving some pretty patterns along with Kroos. Not that it leads anywhere, Kruse's sloppy pass easily cut out by Cole.
5 min: England are eager to get the ball to Townsend at every opportunity. Gerrard pings the ball out to him, giving the Tottenham winger another chance to run at Schmelzer. He almost overruns it with a heavy touch but manages to find Cleverley, whose pass into Rooney is too sharp for his Manchester United team-mate to control.
4 min: Look at the empty seats. Seems the FA hasn't been able to shift all the tickets for tonight's match.
3 min: "Shouldn't really feed the troll but aren't you allowed to be rude about your own country and only your own country?" says Liam Rooney. "While you might not have felt confident substituting any of the nations Mr de Freitas suggests, I dare say my compatriots, Messrs Glendenning & Doyle would have a decent try substituting Ireland. Perhaps Robbie's last minute shinner in 2002, dear old Stan's banana skin and the fact that we all felt that this autumn's away 3-0 pasting was an improvement on the drubbing served up at home by Ozil and his mates last year." No! Humour will be seen as a treason!
2 min: Led by the risible England band, there's a jaunty atmosphere inside Wembley Stadium. England make a fairly bright start, quick to the ball in midfield and snappy in the challenges. Townsend goes on two sorties down the right, the second resulting in a dangerous cross that Mertesacker has to head away from Sturridge,
And we're off! It's about to hot up, so I've removed my jumper. Luckily - or unluckily, depending on your perspective - there's a shirt underneath. England, in their white shirts and black shorts, get the game going, kicking from left to right in the first half. Germany are in green shirts and white shorts. "As you are apparently not allowed to slag off the England team, please allow me, for once, to set aside my natural German humility and point out that of the German starting XI, all but Westerman (Hamburg) and my homie Mertesacker play in the present top 4 teams in the Bundesliga. Reus, Kroos and Götze as attacking midfield?" says Jan Wetzel. "That's a "B-team" I would take on most playground days..."
Here come the teams, both of whom are decked out in natty tracksuit tops. A man shouts some nonsense over the tannoy as they walk out. The camera lingers on Kyle Walker for a moment, and then it's time for the anthems. Germany's is booed but half-heartedly, no one really putting any effort into it. If you're going to boo, do it properly. Once that's out the waym it's time to sing about God and a Queen - Charles de Freitas, you can relax, because I am singing as I type. "After seeing the picture at the bottom of your MBM page for this game, is it just me or could Joachim Löw get a new job as lead singer in a Suede tribute band should he face the axe after losing to Argentina in next year’s World Cup final?" says Simon Roberts.
"The first base coach for the Kansas City Royals is named "Rusty Kuntz". Just thought you'd like to know that," says JR in Illinois. "Here is a link to a picture of Mr. Kuntz in action, standing beside his player whose last name is "Getz". Yes, this is real."
My, you readers sure are in a childish mood tonight. Disgraceful behaviour.
"A holiday bus pour les Bleus is a splendid idea," says Lou Roper. "Perhaps Michel Platini could drive it?"
Nah, it'd end up in Qatar.
"What the hell is Charles de Freitas on about?" says Justin Kavanagh. "The only reason the other four of us are reading the MBM tonight is for the bile, sneers, and bitter anti-English sentiment! Carry on Jacob, and don't mind any other soccerball lovers or patriot types who wander in."
Too late, I'm afraid. I've got a bulldog tattooed on to my chest, I'm wearing a St George's bowler hat and I'm tucking into a plate of boiled meat and potatoes.
"‘They’ve only got Kuntz up front’," says Ben Fitzpatrick. "Will it ever not be funny?"
In a different way, I always enjoyed Tim Lovejoy's "It's only Ray Parlour" in the 2002 FA Cup final.
To the ITV studio, where Michael Ballack is being handsome. He says Germany would quite like to win tonight. "Perhaps Mr. de Freitas was trying to channel his inner colonist and provided you an email dripping with sarcasm and cynicism in the hopes that he would find a kindred spirit in the typical cynical and sarcastic brit? " says Mistr Justin. "Yanks aren't so good at that sort of thing..."
And Lou Roper says: "The missive from the Land of the (Irony) Free is hysterical/ridiculous, but it can't remove me from the two minds I have about France. Is it better that they post another abject display against Ukraine and promptly book their summer holidays or that they overturn the 0-2 deficit (undoubtedly with the 'assistance' of a well-placed hand or two) and repeat the hilarious 'effort' of the 2010 vintage in South Africa (take a bow, M Evra, the epitome of Gallic savoir-faire)?"
My hope is that they take a holiday bus to Brazil if they don't qualify.
Jogi Low is wearing a scarf! Oooo! Ahhhhh! How metrosexual!
And here it is! Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Mr Charles de Freitas, writing from the good ole' US of A. "Dir (sic). Might it just be possible to view a MBM which did not drip with bile, sneers and bitter anti-English sentiment? It is, after all, the country which protects and supports you, and the country in which you have apparently chosen to live. I simply cannot imagine that you would dare publish (for example) the first paragraph of the current MBM substituting such words as Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Brazil or even Palestine in place of England. Is this part and parcel of the Guardian's job description? I suppose we should not hold our breath while awaiting a more balanced commentary. Pity, 'cos it's all we have on this side of the pond."
The country which protects and supports you.
Apparently chosen to live.
Take a bow, Charles, for that was incredible - I am right to assume this is satire, yes?
It's superb. A masterpiece.
I've got a really good email coming up. It's a beaut.
England: Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Smalling,
Carlton Cole; Gerrard, Cleverley; Townsend, Rooney, Lallana; Sturridge. Subs: Johnson, Ruddy, Baines, Gibbs, Cahill, Milner, Lampard, Barkley, Wilshere, Henderson, Lambert, Forster, Defoe, Rodriguez.
Germany B/Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Westermann, Boateng, Mertesacker, Schmelzer; Sven Bender, Lars Bender; Reus, Kroos, Götze; Kruse. Subs: Höwedes, Hummels, Jansen, Schürrle, Draxler, Adler, Müller, Sam.
Referee: Stephane Lannoy.
The FA has handily tweeted the England team. It's as expected. Full teams to follow shortly.
We'll not focus on the time England and Germany met at Wembley before that. Poor Kevin Keegan. Instead, here's a stone-cold classic for you, the BBC's build-up to the Euro 96 semi-final. Ok, there was no happy ending, but bask in the class of Des Lynam's intro, Ruud Gullit's polo shirt, Jimmy Hill's bow tie, Three Lions and a proper, pressure-cooker atmosphere at Old Wembley.
Last time these two met at Wembley, back in August 2007, Paul Robinson made a right hash of things, flapping at a cross and allowing Kevin Kuranyi to score Germany's equaliser. England eventually lost the friendly 2-1 and the error was another nail in Robinson's coffin, construction on which had started after his backpass catastrophe against Croatia the previous year. Not to worry, though, for a young goalkeeper by the name of Scott Carson was waiting patiently in the wings, desperate to show the country what he could do.
The point of this story? It's a big evening for Joe Hart, who didn't have much fun the last time he faced German opposition.
Evening. Now that England have been knocked out of the World Cup, Friday's embarrassment at the hands of Chile sending them on their way, there's probably not much point to tonight's festivities. But a contract's a contract, so the show must go on and what a show the good people of the Football Association have in store for us,
Experimental England v Germany Reserves and everything that means: some people on the pitch, a substitution, some tears, a pizza advert, an epiphany in the toilet, the Terry and Upson Comedy Show, a ghost goal, a race between Mesut Ozil and Gareth Barry another chance for everyone to call for root-and-branch reform of the English game, based around the German model, once Mr Roy's boys have had their backsides, dipped in the finest currywurst sauce money can buy (Welcome to Stereotype City, please try the boiled meat), handed to them on a silver platter again. Tor blimey!
German football, as you might have noticed, has been annointed flavour of the decade recently, what with their recent dominance in the Champions League, their national side is pretty damn nifty and taakes the tube, and tickets to watch Bundesliga matches aren't eye-wateringly prohibitive. And you can stand up and drink beer and eat sausage meat. Us English, we could learn a lot from them Germans. Even though they're missing a number of key players tonight, that just means starts for the likes of Sven Bender, Julian Draxler and Marco Reus, so they're not exactly down to the bare bones. In fact we've barely begun to scratch the surface. Though, now we've got the positivity out the way, it should be noted that you don't have to look too far to find a bit of negativity about German's dapper coach, Jogi Low. All those centres of excellence and 3ft playmakers and false nines and what have they won? Zilch! Absolutely bugger all! That's what. And what did they win before this carry-on? Everything. That's what they won. The search for a German Tony Pulis to inspire the next generation of Robert Huths goes on.
But that's the problem with having expectations - only leads to disappointment. Much better to be thoroughly aware of your own limitations and expect the worse, which means that you can give yourself a pat on the back when
you make eye contact with a girl you fancy and don't throw up things sort of, kind of go right. People are starting to realise that about England, even if a few eedjits made a spectacular show of themselves after an experimental side lost 2-0 to Chile, who happen to know their stuff. For the avoidance of doubt, England aren't going to win the World Cup, they're not going to get close to winning the World Cup and, really, it'll just be a nice surprise if they leave Brazil after their second round/quarter final defeat with their dignity intact. So don't get your hopes up and just enjoy the fact that they're going at all. AFTER ALL IT COULD BE WORSE THEY COULD BE FRANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!