England will head to the World Cup on the back of a six-match winless sequence but with at least some pride and confidence restored after a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Germany in the Nations League on Monday.
Gareth Southgate’s listless side trailed 2-0 to Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty and a superb effort by Kai Havertz with less than 20 minutes remaining and boos beginning to resound at Wembley in their final Group A3 match.
But they responded in thrilling fashion with goals by Luke Shaw and Mason Mount in the space of four minutes drawing them level — England’s first goals from open play in 5-1/2 competitive matches.
Harry Kane’s 83rd minute penalty then appeared to have given Southgate’s side a morale-boosting victory.
But four-time world champions Germany, themselves in a poor run of form heading to Qatar, salvaged a point as Havertz capitalised on a goalkeeping error by Nick Pope in the 87th.
— England (@England) September 26, 2022
Substitute Bukayo Saka almost won it for England late on as the fans were left scratching their heads at why the hosts had taken so long to play with any freedom.
England finished bottom of the group with three points behind Germany on seven, Hungary with 10 and Italy, who topped the group on 11 points to reach the Nations League final four.
It is more than 100 years since England last went six competitive games winless but they at least changed the narrative with a stirring fightback against Germany.
“The boys have been under pressure with recent results and we all came out here with a point to prove,” Kane said.
“There are lessons we can still learn from the mistakes we made but we scored three goals and I feel like this will put us in a positive mindset ahead of the World Cup.”
Both sides needed a pre-World Cup tonic after poor Nations League campaigns with England suffering the ignominy of relegation after losing 1-0 away to Italylast Friday, the same night Germany lost by the same scoreline at home to Hungary.
The last time the two heavyweights met at Wembley, in the Euro 2020 finals, England won 2-0 and were riding a wave of euphoria. But the mood has turned sour mainly because of a woeful lack of goals — Kane’s late penalty in Germany being their only goal in their previous five Nations League games.
A lacklustre first half underlined England’s lack of creativity although Raheem Sterling had two chances – first when he was played in by Shaw to force a fine save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and then shooting tamely from a good position.
Germany were equally bereft of attacking spark but were gifted an early chance when Pope’s nervy clearance was charged down and Gundogan curled the ball over the bar.
Germany manager Hansi Flick sent on forward Timo Werner to partner his former Chelsea team mate Havertz for the second half and the visitors went ahead in the 52nd minute with a goal that summed up England defender Harry Maguire’s recent woes.
Having given the ball away to Jamal Musiala, Maguire tried to win it back but hacked down Musiala and a penalty was eventually awarded after a VAR intervention.
Gundogan coolly slid the spot kick into the corner and it soon got even worse for England when Werner found Havertz after a counter-attack and he curled a beauty past Pope.
With the crowd grumbling, Southgate’s side needed a quick response and got it in incredible fashion.
First Shaw was found at the back post by a Reece James cross and squeezed his shot through Ter Stegen’s legs.
Then, like London buses, another goal arrived.
Saka dribbled in from the right and played the ball to fellow substitute Mount who smashed an instant shot into the net from the edge of the area.
When Bellingham was crudely hacked down by Nico Schlotterbeck and Kane smashed his spot kick high past Ter Stegen England fans were in party mode.
But Havertz sobered things up by capitalising on a late gift as keeper Pope fumbled Serge Gnabry’s shot.
England’s Raheem Sterling leaves Qatar after home robbery – ARN News Centre
Sterling will head back to Britain today to be with family, after local media reported a break-in at his home
Coach Gareth Southgate commented, “I’ve spent some time with him today. He’s going to fly home. And obviously, family at these moments is the most important thing,” Southgate added, when asked about Chelsea forward Sterling amid the reports of a home intrusion.
Asked about the incident later, Southgate said he would not discuss the details because it was a private matter.
“Obviously it’s not ideal for the group preparing for a game, but the individual is more important than the group in those moments,” he told reporters.
England captain Harry Kane, who scored the second goal of the game, said the team wished Sterling their best and hoped to see him again “as soon as possible”.
“So we want to give him that space. And we’ll see over the next few days how that all develops.”
Southgate did not provide details of the incident or say if Sterling planned to return to the squad in Qatar.
The 27-year-old, who has 81 caps, was left out of the squad for the match that saw England book a place in the World Cup quarter-finals against holders France next weekend.
England’s Football Association said Sterling was not available for “personal reasons”.
“It’s never easy to see one of your team mates and friends have to deal with something like that,” he added.
“So we’ll have to take it day-by-day, I’m sure Raheem will talk to the manager and take the best decision for him and his family, that’s the most important thing.”
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Argentina will meet the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup.
Lionel Messi scored the first goal to lead Argentina to a 2-1 victory over Australia in their last-16 clash on Saturday, while the Netherlands defeated the United States 3-1 earlier in the day.
Messi tallied in the 35th minute and Julian Alvarez scored in the 57th to give Argentina a 2-0 lead but Australia finally got on the board in the 77th minute, thanks to an Enzo Fernandez own goal.
It was Messi’s first goal in a World Cup knockout round in his 1,000th match to beat Diego Maradona’s tournament tally.
Elsewhere, Netherlands defender Denzel Dumfries set up their first two goals and netted a decisive third to ensure a 3-1 victory over the United States.
Dumfries ended any hopes the Americans had of staging a rescue act after they had gone 2-0 down at halftime, tucking away a third goal for the Dutch that made sure of their victory and put the seal on an influential personal performance.
The United States had cut the deficit through Haji Wright in the 76th minute, but their hopes lasted just five minutes before Louis van Gaal’s team wrapped up the win.
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Deccan Gladiators show firepower to retain Abu Dhabi T10 League trophy
David Wise in action at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi yesterday. Supplied photo
The resident public of the UAE has been awaiting this weekend for long to have its fill of fireworks on the occasion of the 51st National Day. Close to nearly 18,000 cricket fans in Abu Dhabi expected some fireworks as curtains came down on the sixth T10 League on Sunday, but they left the Zayed Cricket Stadium a tad disappointed even though favourites Deccan Gladiators retained the title.
Unlike the major course of the tournament, the final two games proved to be one-sided affairs. The fireworks – sixes, fours and wickets galore – were subdued as Deccan beat New York Strikers by 37 runs. Morrisville Samp Army took third place after defeating Team Abu Dhabi by 79 runs.
The curtains came down after 12 days of fast pace of action in the short format which is growing. There was an announcement from the organisers that T10 is now heading to the African continent with Zimbabwe taking the lead in hosting it next year.
Yet, there were some damp squibs, too. Two debutant teams this year, both from the United States, went all the way to the top of the table after the round-robin stage but fell short at the final hurdles.
And the quotient of fireworks could have been more had the host team showed some more appetite for a fight despite being in a scrap for third place. Team Abu Dhabi had to field a second-string side as many top international players gave the game against Morrisville a miss and headed home. After conceding 128 runs, TAD were dismissed for a paltry 48 runs on the board in 8.4 overs.
Defending champions Deccan restored the order of swinging bats to good effect after New York chose to bowl first. The start was a bit shaky (55-3 in five overs), but the reliable captain Nicholas Pooran (40) and David Wiese (43 not out) put up 74 runs in the second half of the innings. Deccan finished with 128 for four after Pooran was dismissed on the last ball. He was named player of the tournament later.
In a format where you have no time to get your eye in, New York lost UAE opener Mohammad Waseem to the second ball of the first over by Josh Little. One wicket and one run at the end of it meant New York went a big step back and never got into the run chase.
A disciplined effort from the bowlers tightened the squeeze as the crowd hoped for Kieron Pollard to work his magic. The ageing West Indies great waited for his turn in the dugout but could be seen in discomfort over his right hand bicep muscles. When he went in as the fifth batsman, the required run rate was mounting. Even though he hit 23 from 15 balls, it was never going to be enough and he chose to retire hurt. The wind in New York’s sails had gone by then.
Deccan Gladiators bt New York Strikers by 37 runs. Deccan Gladiators 128 for 4 in 10 overs (Nichloas Pooran 40, David Wiese 43n.o, Akeal Hosein 2 for 16) New York Strikers 91 for 5 in 10 overs (Jordan Thompson 22n.o, Kieron Pollard 23rtd hurt, Josh Little 2 for 4, Mohammmad Hasnain 2 for 14)
Player of the Match: David Wiese.
Player of the tournament: Nicholas Pooran, pictured below