England roar back from 2-0 down

An inexperienced England side battled back from two goals down to beat world champions Germany 3-2 in Berlin. An injury time header from Eric Dier sealed the victory after Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy had cancelled out goals from Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez.

vardy eng v ger

Image: BBC Sport

England started the brighter of the two teams, but failed to really test Manuel Neuer. The bright Deli Alli had the best chance, latching on to a lobbed through ball only to see his tame long-distance header pick out the German keeper. Germany should have taken the lead, as the experienced Gomez took advantage of an unfamiliar England defence and finished well, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. However, replays showed that Nathaniel Clyne was actually playing Gomez onside.

It didn’t take long for the Germans to take the lead though, capitalising on a poor clearance by Butland. The ball was worked through to Toni Kroos, who, lacking any other options, tried his luck from 25 yards. Somehow the ball squeezed past Butland at his near post, and to make matters worse, the England stopper was forced off with an injury that he picked up clearing the ball.

It could have been 2-0 early in the second half, as┬áMarco Reus’ long range free kick deceived everyone and had to be helped over by Fraser Forster. Gomez made up for his earlier disallowed goal with a perfectly placed header just before the hour, converting Emre Can’s deep cross.

dier eng v ger

Image: Daily Mail

It seemed that conceding spurred England on though, as Harry Kane turned his man in the box after Germany failed to clear a corner and finished just inside the post. Just minutes after coming on Jamie Vardy scored his first international goal, audaciously flicking Clyne’s low cross past Neuer.

England were now truly in the ascendency, and should have wrapped the game up earlier. Jordan Henderson saw a long-range effort curl just wide, and Deli Alli somehow blazed over from ten yards after Vardy stole possession on the edge of the German box.

But the winner did come in stoppage time, with Eric Dier beating his man to nod home a Henderson corner. The result gives confidence to a young and inexperienced England who showed none of the traits of the side who were embarrassed in Brazil two years ago.


Why the rise of the Chinese Super League is good for England

The Chinese Super League hit the headlines last month as a number of high profile names opted for moves to Asia rather than staying put in Europe. This exodus of players from the European game, especially in the Premier League, could aid the English national team, giving young English players the chance for more first team opportunities.


Alex Teixeira’s move to Jiangsu Suning can only help the likes of Adam Lallana and Jordan Ibe. Image: Daily Star.

With the exception of one or two players, those who are heading to China tend to be mediocre Premier League players, West Ham’s Nikica Jelavic being a prime example. Other Premier League flops such as Paulinho, Gervinho and Gael Kakuta have also made the jump. One criticism that top English clubs have levelled at them is that they buy in foreign mediocrity rather than developing their own players. With the rise in profile of the Chinese game, as well as the vast riches that it can offer, perhaps some of these players will look east.

The rise of the league could continue, with very good internationals such as Ramires and Alex Teixeira already joining the league. If this is not another false dawn, as in the 2012-13 season, you could see players of genuine talent heading to China. Okay, you won’t see the likes of Messi or Ronaldo packing their suitcases, but players in the next tier down might just think about it.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is already feeling the benefits of Ramires’ move to China. Image: The Guardian.

This would leave Premier League clubs with a choice, whether to compete financially with the Chinese Super League for the second tier of players, or to give a chance to their youth prospects that they have spent years developing. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has already felt the benefit of Ramires’ exit from Chelsea, and the England Under-21 international has been rewarded with a new five year deal for his performances. At Liverpool, although not a youngster, Adam Lallana will continue to play week in – week out, as January target Teixeira chose China over Merseyside. Spurs reject Paulinho will be plying his trade in China this year, whilst Deli Alli and Eric Dier have flourished in midfield.

In time, if the Chinese Super League grows in the scale of MLS, a greater proportion of English players will get first team chances in the Premier League, which can only benefit the English national team.