VIDEO: Ten-man England beaten in Germany
Tuesday, 16 November, 2010
Three Lions show their mettle as 'keeper Steele is sent off.
By Jamie Bradbury in Wiesbaden
Click here to watch video highlights of the game.
England Under-21s suffered their first defeat of the season in a dramatic night in Wiesbaden as they finished the game a man down, after debutant Jason Steele was sent off.
The Middlesbrough keeper had only been on the pitch for 13 minutes when the referee adjudged him to have pulled down German forward Boris Vukcevic inside the box and issued an instant red card.
It was harsh on the youngster and the resulting spot-kick was despatched to seal a 2-0 win. There was also heroics from stand-in Henri Lansbury, who kept the home side at bay for over half an hour.
While Germany introduced a new-look Under-21s team after their failure to reach the European Championship, England were also fresh-faced with six first-time starters, including two debuts for Barnsley’s on-loan full-back Kieran Trippier and Swansea City’s leading goalscorer Scott Sinclair.
Both sides were full of running early on, as the new players on show were looking to make an impression on their respective coaches. Sebastien Rudy was keen to get Germany off to a flyer and came close with the game's first shot, but sent his 30-yard drive over the bar.
Cenk Tosun also had a glorious chance to smash home from close range after cutting in from the left but as he took aim on the turn, he slipped and delivered a tame effort.
For England, much was happening on the right-hand side through the partnership of Trippier and Lansbury - in his original postion - but they couldn’t find the openings in behind a statuesque German rearguard. When a move down the right was worked inside to the hard-working Jack Cork, he slipped through to Sinclair in the box, but he was offside.
Even though this was a friendly, both sides were fully committed, and having already been spoken to by Belgian referee Christof Virant, Ryan Bertrand’s foul on Rudy on the half hour mark brought about the game’s first yellow card.
From the resulting right-wing in-swinger, Stefan Bell rose highest to flick on, but the ball drifted wide of the post. Peniel Mlapa also had a good effort cutting in from the left, but Loach pushed around the post for a corner.
German pressure was building as England struggled to clear a series of corners. When one fell to the feet of Konstantin Rausch 20-yards out, his snap-shot with his left foot flew through a crowded box and was too good for Loach. Germany were one-nil up.
England almost responded just before half-time when Lansbury’s free-kick was met by Jack Rodwell but, though he scored with his head against the Germans in the Group game at Euro 2009, this one went wide and the Three Lions returned to the dressing room a goal down.
Then it was time for the drama, and it wouldn’t be an England v Germany encounter without an interesting sub-plot.
Steele came on for his debut at half-time to replace Scott Loach and immediately pulled off a fine save from Tosun’s drive.
But, shortly after a chance the other end for Nathan Delfouneso went past the post following a pass from Henri Lansbury, Germany broke away.
Vukcevic was through on goal with just Steele to beat. The Hoffenheim forward tried to go around the keeper, but fell to the ground over Steele’s outstretched dive. The referee pointed immediately to the spot, and was just as quick to reach for his red card, even with Trippier covering the open goal.
As Steele walked towards the tunnel in disbelief, his debut lasting just 14 minutes, Arsenal’s Lansbury stepped forward to take his place in goal.
Though he had no chance with Tosun’s penalty, he stood firm and looked assured when Germany tried to pepper his goal when in range. He even made a fine point-blank save from a German header, pushing over the bar and held another six-yard volley from Max Beister.
Pearce then brought on Ben Mee, Steven Caulker and Connor Wickham for their first outings, and the 17-year-old Ipswich starlet came close to pulling a goal back, flicking Danny Rose’s cross goalwards but Oliver Baumann was equal to it.
Another fierce Rose delivery from the left with eight minutes left looked enticing, but while Baumann was uncertain, the England forwards just couldn’t get on the end of it to test the Freiburg stopper.
Pearce made his final change of the night with five minutes left bringing on Chelsea youngster Josh McEachran for his first cap for the Under-21s, but in the end the ten men of England couldn’t turn it around.