Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling fired England into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 as they sealed a 2-0 victory against Germany, ending decades of heartache at the hands of their long-standing rivals on Tuesday evening.

Raheem Sterling placed the ball in the back of the net with only 15 minutes left in an extremely tense Round of 16 tie at Wembley. Harry Kane followed up with a beautiful header to clinch England’s first knockout stage win against Germany since 1966.

The last time the Three Lions defeated Die Mannschaft was during the World Cup final more than 55 years ago. Since then, England have endured a painful streak of defeats against Germany when the stakes were at their highest.

England was knocked out from several World Cups by Germany, including 1970, 1990, and 2010. Germany also eliminated England in the semi-finals of Euro 1996 that took place at Wembley. However, the Three Lions have finally exorcised Paul Gascoigne’s ghost and Gareth Southgate’s penalty miss that occurred 25 years ago.

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England’s Phenomenal Performance

England provided a phenomenal performance against Germany crowned by clinical finishes from Raheem Sterling, who currently has three goals in the Euro 2020 tournament, and Harry Kane, who finally produced his first goal of the competition.

England, who have yet to concede a goal, will make their way to Rome where they’ll face Ukraine on Saturday for the Euro 2020 quarter-final.

England will be hunting down their first major international trophy since 1966 and their side of the draw looks very attractive. If they can defeat Ukraine in the quarter-finals, they will likely face Czech Republic or Denmark in the semi-final which won’t strike much fear into their hearts.

This was only the second knockout stage victory for England in the history of the European Championship and their first win over Germany at Wembley stadium since 1975.

For Joachim Loew, the German Manager, it was a surprising end to his reign as he is set to step down after Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate, who is fond of deflecting attention, will certainly relish his moment of redemption. Especially after he decided to change to a three-man defense formation to match up with Germany.

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England’s First Half Against Germany

It was clear from the start that the majority of the 40,000 spectators were supporting England as the players walked onto the pitch on Tuesday evening. This included a hostile reception during the German national anthem.

A tone-setting moment was needed from England early on to ease their visible anxiety and Raheem Sterling produced it after he drove forward for a 25-yard strike that forced an astonishing save from Manuel Neuer.

England gradually took control of the match thanks to a series of winning tackles and headers from Harry Maguire as well as intelligent probing from Bukayo Saka on the right flank. Germany almost gained the lead, however, when Kai Havertz produced a perfect pass for Timo Werner well inside the England area.

Thankfully, Timo Werner had a dismal season for Chelsea in front of goal and was once again unable to provide a precise finish as he drove the ball directly into Jordan Pickford. Thomas Mueller misplaced his pass on the stroke of half-time, sending Raheem Sterling through the German defense. However, Harry Kane was too slow to provide the finishing touch.

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England’s Winning Formula in the Second-Half

Havertz produced a blistering half-volley attempt at the start of the second half, forcing Pickford to superb tip over. Southgate made his first change in the second half, replacing Saka with Jack Grealish for a match-defining moment.

The presence of Grealish inserted more energy into the England side, delivering a knockout blow during the 75th minute of the game. Grealish took the ball wide to Luke Shaw who provided a low cross-reaching kick for Raheem Sterling. The number 10 pounced on it and to deliver a close-range finish that sent Wembley into ecstasy.

Thomas Mueller could have equalized after he ran straight through England’s defense. However, he rolled his shot wide before falling to the turf in utter dismay. Harry Kane made Mueller pay during the 86th minute, finishing off a brilliant counter-attack thanks to a diving header.

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