England claimed their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 as they beat rivals Germany 2-0 at Wembley Stadium.
Raheem Sterling grabbed his third goal of the tournament to put the Three Lions ahead from a well-worked move in the second half before Harry Kane opened his account with a late header.
Gareth Southgate’s side will now face either Sweden or Ukraine in Rome as they look to match 2018’s run to the World Cup semi-finals.
It represents a degree of revenge for Southgate, whose missed penalty at Euro 96 cost England dear in a semi-final exit to Germany.
Joachim Low’s side seemed to take a partisan atmosphere at Wembley in their stride early on, making a strong start that was exemplified by Declan Rice receiving a booking for a cynical but entirely necessary challenge on a breaking Leon Goretzka.
However, the subsequent free-kick came to nothing, inviting England to improve on what they had offered up thus far and leading to something of an end-to-end half.
The hosts had two Harry Maguire headers and a Sterling strike from distance to show for their efforts, while Germany went close through Timo Werner and Robin Gosens.
But it was Kane who saw the best chance of the half, latching somewhat fortuitously onto a deflected clearance attempt but failing to get around Manuel Neuer before Mats Hummels intervened.
The half-time break seemed to benefit the Germans most, Low’s side finding it far easier to prevent their opponents from playing out following the restart.
They were also creating chances, most notably in the form of a powerful Kai Havertz drive from the edge of the box that Jordan Pickford saved athletically.
But with neither side able to find the breakthrough by the 70-minute mark, both managers moved to change things with the introductions of Serge Gnabry and Jack Grealish.
And it was the latter who made the telling contribution, collecting the ball after a fine run from Sterling before teeing up Luke Shaw for a low cross that the Manchester City man side-footed home.
The goalscorer almost turned villain moments after his opener, inadvertently setting up Germany to release Thomas Muller in behind, but hit the turf in relief after the Bayern Munich man struck wide.
Grealish was on hand to make things safe soon after, swinging in a left-footed cross that Kane needed only to crouch to head home and send Wembley wild.
What does it mean? England excited
Prior to this success, England had never won a European Championships knockout match in 90 minutes.
But they will be confident of adding to their maiden victory, with a side of the draw featuring Sweden, Ukraine, Denmark and the Czech Republic stoking hopes of a run to the final at least.
Grealish makes claim to start
With his omission from the starting XI creating such controversy, it was difficult to imagine that Grealish could live up to expectations following his introduction as a late sub.
But the Aston Villa man did just that, playing a key role in the creation of the opener before laying on an unmissable assist for Kane at the death.
He may have scored the goal that sealed the win but Kane won’t be overjoyed with his performance across the 90 minutes.
The England striker took just 29 touches as he struggled to influence proceedings and, while debate will rage over whether that is a systemic or individual issue, he will surely want to do more in the next round. Perhaps a goal will give him the confidence to do so.
– England defeated Germany in a competitive game at Wembley for the first time since the 1966 World Cup final, having been winless in their previous three such encounters.
– England are only the second side in Euros history not to concede in any of their first four games of an edition of the tournament, after Germany in 2016. The only previous time England did so at any major tournament (World Cup & Euros) was at the 1966 World Cup.
– This was England’s 300th international match at Wembley stadium, while they remain unbeaten in 15 games at this venue in major tournaments, winning 10 of them.
– Germany have only won one of their last six games at the Euros (D2 L3), failing to keep a clean sheet in all six games in this run.
– Raheem Sterling has now scored 15 goals in his last 20 appearances in all competitions for England, after going 27 games without finding the net prior to this run.
After an unforgettable victory over their old rivals, England will watch Ukraine’s last-16 clash with Sweden with great interest as they wait to find out who they will face in what will be their only Euro 2020 game played away from Wembley win or lose.
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