Roy Hodgson admitted England had lacked the necessary quality to wound Germany as his side suffered successive defeats at the national stadium for the first time in 36 years, with the manager conceding his side had "sent 85,000 people home disappointed".
The hosts failed to muster a shot on target in a home game for the first time this century – even if the manager pointed to Andros Townsend's long-range attempt which struck a post – as Per Mertesacker's first-half header proved sufficient to deflate the mood further after Chile's victory here last Friday. That ensured England's players departed to a chorus of boos for the second time in five days. to bring a downbeat end to a calendar year that contained qualification for the World Cup finals in Brazil.
"I'm disappointed," Hodgson said. "It's not nice to lose, especially a second game at home, so one can't in any way be satisfied. I'm not disappointed with the effort, the work rate and the application, but the Germans were better in the quality of their passing and finishing.
"We let ourselves down in the final third, and we can do better than that. We know that. We needed better quality. I am optimistic we do have the quality, it is there, we have players to come back too, but tonight we were just lacking the quality in those key areas.
"So the major disappointment is twofold: that we didn't show the quality I'd expected, and that, after having 150,000 people through to watch us in these games, we sent them home disappointed. Sometimes you learn more from defeats. There will be lots of things that, right now, I am not happy about but they won't seem as black when I watch it back.
"We still wanted to end the year on a positive result. It's been a great year for the Football Association, and a great year for me because we've qualified for the World Cup, which was our goal. I'm not prepared to accept for one minute, personally, that these two very tough friendly matches have taken the shine off a very good year. We have a lot to look forward to in 2014, with a lot of players fiercely trying to contest their places in the squad. I thank 2013 for that and look forward to next year."
There were injury concerns for Liverpool and Chelsea before the end, with Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole withdrawn in the second half after suffering discomfort in back and rib injuries respectively. More alarming was an apparent weakness at centre-half, where Hodgson conceded his side "weren't at our tallest", and that anaemic display up front. The manager was dismissive when it was pointed out England had not managed a single shot on target. "What about Townsend's shot that hit the post?" he asked. "Is that not on target? I rest my case.
"It's always disappointing to get boos at the end but there aren't many games these days where the home side don't get a result and the home crowd don't boo. We don't want that. We want the applause we had after the Montenegro and Poland games. To get the applause, that level of acclaim, we're going to have to play better and win matches. We didn't play well enough tonight, didn't win, and sent 85,000 people home disappointed.
"I'm not sure we should be talking about my 'first-choice' lineup as yet. Seven players who could feature in that side weren't even in our 26-man squad, so there are a lot of players to be assessed. Steven Gerrard had to come off the field, we couldn't play Wayne Rooney for the 90 minutes again, and Ashley Cole came off the field with an injury. So it wasn't necessarily our first-choice lineup out there."