Well, not really live if you are reading this. But TTL will try his hand at live-blogging (who hasn’t) the England-Germany friendly starting at 2:30 ET. Hate friendlies, but thought it’d be fun to do. There are some Euro 2008 qualifying games tonight as well. TTL is keeping a close eye on Estonia v Andorra as these teams look for their first points of the campaign. See you in a bit.
England v Germany
The boys from Match of the Day are off to their usual strong start in the pre-game. Kickoff delayed by 5 minutes as Germans arrived late leading to a rash of German inefficiency jokes. Great montage of all the England-Germany clashes at Wembley throughout the years as England haven’t beaten Germany at Wembley since 1975.
We’re officially 1 year into the Steve McClaren era as England manager. Alan Hansen just called McClaren’s tactics in their lose to Croatia earlier this year “disatrous.” Ah, the English press/pundits really hold back their opinions.
England have quite the injury list but big thing about this friendly is that many of these players will feature in their vital qualifying games at Wembley against Israel (Sept. 8th) and Russia (Sept. 12th).
Conditions are bad with tons of rain and with liberal substitution policies in these friendlies expect a lot of shuffling of players. But then again, these two flat out don’t like each other so this could turn into a “real” game.
Not too much discussion of Becks (who is starting) besides Ian Wright suggesting Becks wouldn’t have gone to MLS if he thought he’d return to the national team.
Germany only has about 4 regulars starting as they have their own injury problems and they are wait out in front in Group D.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in attendance.
Captain England John Terry leads his side onto the field alongside his German counterpart Bernd Schnieder. (Apologies in advance for spelling errors).
Wembley, despite the rain, looks in fantastic shape. McClaren wants it to become a “fortress” for England as they have 4 Euro 2008 qualifying games there in the fall.
National anthems are awesome in international games as players and fans belt them out.
English side; Robinson (G) Richards, Terry, Ferdinand, Shorey (Def), Becks, Carrick, Lampard, J. Cole (Mid) Owen & Smith.
Take me way too long to type out the German team, as the only regulars are Lehmann (Goal), Kuryani (striker) Lahm and Schneider (Mid).
Kick-off and underway as Becks first free-kick is headed out of the box by a German defender.
3mins: England are pressing all over the field as the red-shirted(?) struggle to string more than 2 passes together. To be blunt, internationals are usually choppy games since these players don’t play very often together. But the pure passion of players/fans makes up for the uneven quality of play.
6min Commentators not happy with Carrick and Lampard standing alongside each other in midfield instead of staggered as England promptly give the ball away easily.
7min Joe Cole makes a run with the ball through the middle and a good tackle at top of box prevents him from shooting. He’s one of the few English players that consistently take people on with the ball.
9min GOAL for Fat Frank Lampard. Booed last time at Wembley, Lampard beats Lehmann on a good strike from right box (might taken slight defection of defender). Lampard’s first international goal in 9 games was set up beautifully by 19yr-old Micah Richards beating a defender then slipping Lampard a great pass. Nice football.
12min England look dangerous as the drums and singing reverberate throughout Wembley. Richards is on the sideline getting treatments as he took a knock setting up the goal.
15min In actual Euro 2008 qualifying, N. Ireland lead Lichtenstein 2-0 as Fulham’s David Healy (of course) scoring both. And Portugal held to a shock 1-1 drawn in Armenia.
17min Richards back on and draws a foul near the corner flag. Becks doesn’t deliver a good ball and Germany now in possession.
19min German look out of sorts and are also only playing 1 striker in Kuryani. Lehmann booed every time he touches ball by England/Arsenal fans.
20min Germany make first serious foray into English end as Shorey gives away a free kick. Ferdinand heads it out giving Germany a corner. Metzleder gots sum hops and sends header just wide of post. He simply outjumped the English defense. 6,000 German fans start chanting and are promptly whistled down.
23min Nice to see England playing with some energy as up to 8 of these players could start against Israel. Germany has picked up their tempo and suddenly we’ve got a game.
24min Lehmann surprises whole stadium by actually catching a deflected cross of another impressive Joe Cole run.
25min GOAL Germany 1-1. Oh, yeah. Metzlberger launches laser that Robinson parries down and Ferdinand clears but Schneider sends cross back in and catches Robinson cheating out. Robinson desperately swats ball from under cross-bar to Kuryani who gleefully taps into the net from 2 yards out.
28min Now Shorey gets forward and squares a nice ball across the box but unfortunately no England player was there. Kinda ball Gerrard deposits into the net for laughs. English defenders (Richards&Shorey) been great going forward.
31min Shorey gets fouled on left sideline and its Beckham time as big-boys Terry, Richards and Ferdinand move into position. Great ball by Beckham and Smith flicks on from near post but no England player touches it. Easily could have been 2-1.
33min Lampard denied by Lehmann but Lampard could have passed across to either Owen or Beckham for easy tap-in. Another missed opportunity followed by Cole getting booked (tough to do in a friendly) for a tackle from behind. Another Robinson gaffe as he comes off his line for free-kick and missed ball by a mile. Fortunately, Germany was offside. Robinson doing nothing to solidfy his status as England keeper.
36min Richards continues to trouble German defense drawing a foul and Becks put in dangerous free kick as German defense barely clears their lines.
39min Robinson now getting booed when he touches ball. Both keepers not exactly fan favorites. Smith quietly having good game upfront holding the ball up and moving well. Owen is invisible. GOAL. 2-1 for Germany. Pander, German debutante, scorches an absolute blast from outside the box with his left foot into top right corner. Nothing Robinson could do about it. England almost answer right away as Smith chips a great ball into the box that Owen heads but Lehmann makes a brilliant one-handed save. Becks just drove hard shot into wall as this game is sizzling.
43min As required by any England telecast they show players from the 1966 WC winning side. OK tonight since they beat Germany 4-2 in the Final at Wembley but every international game features some mention/footage of 1966.
45min Lampard makes great flick into Owen’s path. Lehmann comes off his line, bobbles the ball and Owen misses an empty net in a scramble. Halftime in an entertaining game.
Substitutions: Brown for Ferdinand and 37yr old David James returns to English goal replacing Robinson.
Bittersweet news as Estonia beat Andorra 2-1. The Estonians pick-up 3 points after scoring their first two goals of the qualifying campaign in the 8th game. Hard luck for the semi-pros of Andorra.
47min Apparently James was always going to play 2nite and has nothing to do with Robinson’s blundering 1st half performance. English announcers ripping on fans of expensive seats for staying in their hospitality suites and finishing their drinks.
49min Hitzisperger very impressive in midfield for Germans. Good on the ball, nice shot and good range of passing. Beckham uncharateristically beats defender down the right and then uncharacteristically puts in a poor cross. Despite sleeping the whole flight from LA to London doubt Becks will finish this game.
52min Hilbert subs in to play right midfield for Germany. Another young player from Stuggart, the defending Bundesliga champions.
55min Gareth Barry from Aston Villa on for Carrick in central midfield. Incredibly, this is the 5th different England manager Barry has played under. Afraid the game will lose some of its surprising quality now as each manager making use of his 6 allowed subs. Right on cue, Dyer and Crouch are on up-front replacing Owen and Smith. Crouch is suspended for the Israel game but is available for Russia.
58min Joe Cole in his typical manner darts inside from the left and unleashes a shot just wide of the net. First real chance of the 2nd half for either team. Now Shorey plays another dangerous ball into the middle and Cole ‘s volley is blocked. Lehmann beats Dyer and Crouch to the loose ball. Shorey as looked good, certainly putting in better crosses than the overrated Ashley Cole from the left-back spot.
62min Game opening up a bit as England presses forward for a goal exposing themselves to the counterattack. Shorey gives it away and Kuryani almost picks out a streaking German with a nice cross. Bet its even money on either team to score at this point.
64min Kuryani gets between Richards and Brown and James rushing off the line. Fortunately for him, Kuryani’s chip goes well wide. No reason for James to come rushing out there. Adventerous keeping is the norm tonight. England almost answers through Dyer as Lehmann comes rushing off his line and fortunately gets a piece of the ball. Becks corner kick is cleared. But almost immediately England regains possession and Beckham squares a great ball across that the speedy Dyer pushes wide. Got to hit the target from there but that’s Dyer’s recurring problem. Great pace, nice skills but the frequently injured and hasn’t scored in 37 international appearances.
68min Looks like Shaun Wright-Phillips to come on for Becks. The commentator Mark Lawrenson admits if Gerrard is healthy they should bench Lampard and play Owen Hargreaves and Gerrard in the middle. The Lampard/Gerrard experiment hasn’t worked well as they are both similar players. Wright-Phillips on for Joe Cole?!? Promptly puts in great ball from left that Lampard stretches for and puts it over the bar. Rofflfs on for Germany.
73min That’s all 6 subs for England so Becks will finish game. He’s put in a good effort but think he’s limping. LA Galaxy brass must be pissed. Could be a fun war of words between MLS and English FA. Surprised Wright-Phillips not moved out to right, Beckham to middle and Barry to his natural left-side. Then again, Europeans tend to scoff at Becks in the middle where he’s playing for LA.
75min England corner as Wright-Phillips shot is deflected out. Good ball in and Terry’s header headed off-line by German defender. Meanwhile, Kuranyi putting on a clinic as lone striker, constantly moving, winnning balls and holding it while his teammates make runs. Schalke 04 playing quite well.
79min Lehmann saves from Wright-Phillips who’s looked very competent. Played sparingly for Chelsea last season but seems to be forcing Jose Mourniho to play him regularly. Now the German fans can be heard clearly throughout the stadium. England has a terrible overall record vs Germany and it bothers them to no end.
82min The proverbial shot of German legend Franz Beckenbauer in the stands. Game breaking down a little as England starting to play long balls up to the giant Crouch. Germany in the midst of back-to-back corners which England clears all the way back to Lehmann.
88min Kurayni continuing to make himself a nuisance. He’s man of the match for Germany and give Micah Richards the nod for England. Becks dissappeared for the last 20 minutes most likely due to fatigue.
90min 3 minutes of stoppage time as Germany playing keep away now.
It’s over with England having one last decent chance that Shorey crossed straight to the keeper after putting a nifty move on the defender. The Germans win 2-1. They were quite steady after the initial 20 minutes while England was all over playing well in spurts, poor in spurts and medicore overall. England did create enough chances but with no Wayne Rooney up-front England didn’t finish. It’s just a friendly after all. Both teams have Euro 2008 qualifiers on September 8th.
Well that’s it for tonight. Hope you enjoyed it.