Match 51 – Round of 16
Bloemfontain was the stage for one of the most anticipated round of 16 matches in the 2010 World Cup: England versus Germany.
The match was the fifth World Cup meeting between the two European soccer powerhouses, the most famous one being the 3-2 English victory over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Finals, the three lions’ only World Cup to date.
In an effort to recreate the magic of 1966, skipper Fabio Capello started Defoe and Rooney together for a second straight game, repeating the lineup that had gained England their victory over Slovenia.
Germany, meanwhile, inserted Klose back into the starting eleven after the striker was forced to miss the final group match versus Ghana due to a red card suspension.
And Klose made an almost immediate impact when he ran onto the end of a German goal kick and beat English keeper David James to give the Germans a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute.
The goal was Klose’s 12th in World Cup play, a tally that surpassed the record set by legendary striker Jurgen Klinsmann and brought him equal with all-time great Pele.
Instead of rallying behind each other, however, the three lions looked dazed and continued to let Germany take the game to them.
Ten minutes later, Podolski picked up a pass from Mueller and nutmegged David James with his left foot to give the Germans a 2-0 advantage in the 32nd minute.
But just as the match seemed to be spiraling out of control, the three lions fought back, and Mathew Upson headed the ball into the net off of a Gerrard cross to bring the English within a goal of their rivals in the 36th minute.
Less than a minute later, England scored again when midfielder Frank Lampard crushed a long range shot off the underside of the crossbar… or so they thought.
According to the officials, however, the ball never crossed the goal line – although replays showed differently – and the English deficit remained 2-1 at half time.
More puzzling than the referee’s gaffe, however, was the second half performance of the three lions.
Rather than come out fired up, the English came out flat, conceding two goals to Mueller, both on well-timed German counterattacks in the 66th and 69th minutes.
And despite bringing on substitutes Joe Cole, Emile Heskey and Shaun Wright-Phillips, the English failed to pressure the German goal, losing 4-1 in what is now the three lions’ worst World Cup loss ever.
Final Score: Germany 4 – England 1