columnist Nick Howson felt that England showed a maturity last
night way beyond their years.
England showed that they can perform on the big stage
without their star players with an impressive 2-1 win over Germany in Berlin.
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard
sat out the game through injury, as England's second string outplayed a quiet
frankly awful German side.
Mathew Upson opened the scoring for England after a dreadful
goalkeeping error from Rene Adler, allowed the West Ham defender to poke the
ball into an empty net.
However England repaid the favour with an hour gone, as
substitute goalkeeper Scott Carson and Captain John Terry got in a muddle
allowing Patrick Helmes to equalise.
But Terry made up for his mistake heading in Stewart
Downing's free-kick with just seven minutes remaining.
The performance from the likes of Glen Johnson, Gabriel
Agbonlahor and Downing himself was impressive, but the team performance as a
whole from a group of players who would have never played together was the
highlight of the evening.
I wouldn't say any performance stuck out as spell-binding,
it was the composure of the team as a whole that impressed me in-front of a
capacity crowd of 74,000.
The only issue for me fell with Scott Carson, who did his
best to deny England a victory they thoroughly deserved.
At the time, I believed him playing against Croatia was a
mistake, and that anything that happened on the evening was a result of Steve
McClaren's poor selection and that Carson wasn't ready to be thrown in the deep
in at such an early stage of his career.
On Wednesday night however there can be no excuses, he
definitely deserved a second chance for England under Capello. In simple terms,
he's blown it.
Only thing he had to do all night, and he allowed the ball
to go through his legs and into the back of his net.
I think John Terry is slightly accountable, why he couldn't
just clear the ball out I have no idea but the goalkeeper clear called for the
ball and he simply didn't produce
Capello as we know already likes to wheel the axe at the
best of times. I hope he doesn't hold back with the West Brom goalkeeper here,
he's had his chances, give someone else a go.
I was disappointed to only see 15 minutes of Ashley Young,
and for him then to be played out of position was unfortunate.
But this was down to the inspired performance of Downing who
started to show his club form on the international stage, which is something
Capello targeted at the start of his international tenure.
Before we go raving about this performance, let's spend a moment
or two to consider the terrible Germany side that we saw last night.
For as good as England were Germany were just as bad, and
for a team who 'appeared' in the European Championship Final just four months
ago they have slipped hugely, there is plenty of work for Joachim Low to do.
But of course it wasn't a full strength England side and
considering that it was a brilliant performance, and if similar injuries occur
in March for the next lot of World Cup Qualifiers Capello won't have
reservations about blooding this talented group of players.