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Brian GlanvilleBooed off the field for a second time in less than a week. failing to subject the previously uncapped goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller to a single save, what faint consolation could there be?

Well, Hodgson was at least justified in his recall to goal of Joe Hart. He made several excellent saves, though one of his all-too-frequent ill times dashes out of his box in the second half could have been disastrous.

Andros Townsend still looks a natural international winger with skill, speed and undimmed morale. Moving into the middle he struck the left hand post with England’s only notable threat on a bleak evening.

“We both had players missing,”: said Hodgson afterwards, and it is true that Michael Carrick, Alex Oxlad-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott were unavailable, but otherwise how could he display Townsend on the right wing?

By sharp contrast, the Germans fielded what was very much a secondary squad, minus the likes of Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Phillip Lahm, while the ever influential Bastian Schweinsteiger was recovering from an operation.

Germany’s manager Joachim Low was right to lament his team’s several missed chances, but the depth of his squad is formidable.

Certainly England would look more inventive and potentially surprising were Jack Wilshere fit for a full game. He did at least eventually come on, to the probably displeasure of his manager. As for a defence which surely had been briefed on the danger posed by Per Mertesacker in the air, Hodgson’s pale excuse that it lacks height was hardly reassuring. To say that of Chris Smalling, utterly outjumped by Mertesacker for the goal, seemed perplexing.

Wayne Rooney was sporadic, Daniel Sturridge a blunt instrument, but at least Ashely Cole looked a far better bet at full-back than had Leighton Baines versus Chile.

Brazil beckons, but at this rate, even the habitual quarter-finals seem something of a mirage.

And this Germany secondary team? Cool, calm and coordinated.

By Brian Glanville

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