Germany leave it late to end young England’s undefeated run at 19 games

• England U21 1-2 Germany U21
• Dominic Solanke offers hope with first-half equaliser

These shores continue to prove a happy hunting ground for Stefan Kuntz. His Euro 96 equaliser at Wembley took Germany to a semi-final penalty shootout that Gareth Southgate, who was in attendance here less than 24 hours on from watching England thrash Montenegro in Podgorica, remembers for all the wrong reasons as he missed the crucial spot-kick.

This loss was almost as galling for Aidy Boothroyd, given Kuntz’s Under-21s have now got the better of England in each of their last three meetings. There is just something about these games when old foes collide, with Germany halting England’s 19-match unbeaten streak in contentious fashion.

With Kyle Walker-Peters grounded after a clash of heads during a stoppage-time corner, Germany ignored England’s raised hands and instead of kicking the ball out of play they snatched a winner, Felix Uduokhai firing home unmarked inside the box after collecting Benjamin Henrichs’s cross. For so long it appeared Dominic Solanke’s first goal at the ground he now calls home would be sufficient to extend England’s unbeaten run after cancelling out Mahmoud Dahoud’s first-half opener.

Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke, captain for the evening at Dean Court, rounds the keeper to equalise for England.
Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke, captain for the evening at Dean Court, rounds the keeper to equalise for England. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

Boothroyd’s side were bitterly disappointed by the manner of this late defeat, their first since Germany won on penalties at the European Championship they went on to win in 2017. This summer Kuntz’s side will defend the crown as the tournament favourites, though England, despite ending their preparations on a bum note, will not be far behind them.

“It’s disappointing to lose a run of games by an official that should have, in my opinion, blown for a free-kick,” Boothroyd said. “Kyle got caught, went down. To me it’s a head injury, it’s under-21s, it’s a friendly, and it stops. I’m disappointed, but we should not have given away the corner in the first place. We are all a bit hurt, but sometimes a loss can be a really good thing.”

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Kuntz, by contrast, was all smiles, apologetically charging into Boothroyd’s post-match press conference to say farewell before heading to the airport.

Solanke’s first goal since May will have pleased the watching Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, while there were equally a few performances to excite Southgate, in the crowd alongside his assistant Steve Holland, with Phil Foden, the Manchester City teenager, displaying a couple of touches of class.

Germany, meanwhile, received a boost an hour before kick-off after obtaining confirmation that Lukas Nmecha, the City forward who was born in Hamburg and has represented England at youth level, was eligible to feature.

Foden fooled home supporters with a piercing shot from the edge of the box that cannoned off the advertising hoardings on to the stanchion of the Germany goal, leaving a swell of celebrating fans red-faced. But it was the Italian referee who ended up at the centre of England protests after failing to award that stoppage-time free-kick.

“It’s going to be dictated by injuries, form, who Gareth wants – that comes first,” Boothroyd said when asked about the 23-man squad he anticipates taking to Italy. “We will support him, get him right and then we will look at what we have got. I think we’ll be in a good place.

“I’ve learned an awful lot in the last two games, who complements who. When the squad gets named on 6 June, we’ll be in a good position.”