Gareth Southgate’s biggest test as England manager ended with a result that can redefine how the nation views itself at major tournaments, beating Germany 2-0 on Tuesday in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 and ending Joachim Low’s time in charge of Die Nationalmannschaft.
The Three Lions may have reached a World Cup semifinal under Southgate in 2018, but they did so without beating any of the elite nations and arguably succumbed to the first proper test they faced in an extra-time defeat to Croatia. Biennial disappointment is woven into the fabric of England’s sporting consciousness, an inferiority complex built over decades that has previously manifested in a fear of failure, fatigue and frustration.
England had never won a European Championship knockout game in 90 minutes before Tuesday. Southgate was determined that this young squad would not be burdened by history, rather inspired to make their own. And he was right.
This is a Germany side palpably short of a typical vintage, but they are a four-time World Cup-winning nation. No country has won more than the three European Championships they took home in 1972, 1980 and 1996
MASSIVE PERFORMANCE BY JORDAN PICKFORD! pic.twitter.com/3LBHVJiGUn
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