Can England produce a Great Escape against Germany?

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As far as international football rivalries go, they don’t come much bigger in Europe than England against Germany. It’s more than just a game whenever the two sides have met: encounters between the Three Lions and Die Mannschaft have become a source of huge national pride.

The next meeting between these two continental giants will take place at Wembley Stadium, which could provide England with an important advantage, amidst the certainty that fans will be at their loudest for the clash against Germany. Having navigated their way through the group stages of Euro 2020, everything is now at stake for both teams in the knockout phase of the competition.

Heading into this duel between football heavyweights, the latest odds for a bet on England v Germany favours the side managed by Gareth Southgate, valued at 31/20 to get the job done within 90 minutes. The German team, led by Joachim Low, has been handed 19/10 odds to take the victory, making them slight underdogs for a game that genuinely could go either way.

Despite lifting the FIFA World Cup four times and the UEFA European Championship three times, the German side under Low has begun to struggle in recent years. This will be his final tournament in charge of the national team, with the 61-year-old having led the side since 2006. He will be replaced by former Bayern Munich boss Hans-Dieter Flick after Euro 2020.

During the tenure of Low, the Germans finished as runners-up at Euro 2008, before going on to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, during a tournament highlighted by trouncing the host nation 7-1 in the semi-finals. The long-serving international coach then guided Germany to success at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

The record of Germany under Low at the UEFA European Championship has been somewhat frustrating. They made it all the way to the finals in 2008, yet ultimately lost to a single Fernando Torres goal against Spain, who were at the start of their golden age. In each of the last two editions, the Germans were beaten in the semi-finals, by Italy in 2012 and then France in 2016.

By comparison, the almost mythical 1966 World Cup final win against Germany was the last time England succeeded at any major tournament, before reaching the semi-finals in 1990 and 2018. Meanwhile, the Three Lions have never traditionally fared well at the European Championships.

During the golden age of English football and as reigning World Cup holders, the side managed by Sir Alf Ramsey couldn’t get beyond the semi-finals and Yugoslavia at Euro 1968. Then in 1996, as the host nation with Terry Venables at the helm of a so-called new golden generation, England once again made the semi-finals. Facing none other than Germany, they brutally tasted defeat due to penalties.

Under the leadership of Gareth Southgate, the hopes and aspirations of English fans have once again been rekindled. Although a promising run at the 2018 World Cup ended in the semi-finals against Croatia, his team is expected to go far at Euro 2020. The only problem is that they must first get past Germany to keep those ambitions alive.

Expect to hear the ‘Great Escape’ theme whistled by English fans if they do.

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