England beat Germany 2-0 in the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Tuesday to end 55 years of agony against their old foes.
The defeat also ended for Germany the tenure of coach Joachim Loew as well.
Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling scored in the 75th minute and captain Harry Kane finally found the net as well in the 86th minute.
This happened in front of 45,000 ecstatic fans at Wembley with “Football’s Coming Home” echoing around the iconic arena after the final whistle.
It was England’s first win over Germany at a big tournament since they beat them 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final at the old Wembley.
Subsequent defeats included the Wembley penalty kicks shoot-out loss at Euro 1996, with England’s current manager Gareth Southgate missing from the spot.
“We have had passion and heart but we also had brains,” Southgate said in praise of his team. “We found a nice balance to be brave with ball and keep possession and to go quickly and counter.”
Man-of-the-Match Harry Maguire said: “It means everything to beat them. They are an excellent team with great players. We wanted to be brave on and off the ball and wanted to be aggressive.”
England, who are yet to concede at Euro 2020, now leave Wembley for the first time to play in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Rome against Sweden or Ukraine.
They will return to London for the rest of the tournament if they win.
“It is an immense challenge from here on. The players know that. Their feet are on the ground,” Southgate said. “We came here with an intention and haven’t achieved that yet.”
Germany go home after another modest tournament with just one victory, after a group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup.
Loew’s era thus ended in disappointment after 15 years on the job highlighted by the 2014 World Cup title.
His former assistant and ex-Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick will be taking over.
Loew rued missed major chances from Timo Werner and Thomas Mueller, saying that at this level “every mistake and any not-taken chance is punished.
“The team may lack experience and maturity. We always had moments where we lacked final determination at the back and front.”
Germany kicked off after both teams took a knee and Leon Goretzka recorded a first shot on target which however was a tame effort into Jordan Pickford’s arms.
England hardly saw the ball early on.
But the hosts finally became adventurous and the crowd excited by a curling long-range effort in the 16th minute from Sterling palmed away by Manuel Neuer.
Werner had a golden chance to break the deadlock in the 32nd minute.
He was set up superbly by Chelsea team-mate Kai Havertz but denied by Pickford from short range, from a left angle.
England captain Harry Kane who had another quiet afternoon then almost snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Mueller played a disastrous ball in midfield, with Sterling being stopped at the last instance by Matthias Ginter.
The ball then fell to Kane in the goalmouth but he failed to control it properly and Mats Hummels slid in well to clear.
The second half started like the first and Havertz’ stunning volley in the 48th minute was just tipped over the bar by Pickford.
Wembley finally erupted in the 75th minute when Sterling tapped in off Luke Shaw’s low cross from the left in a fluid move.
It was a move which also involved substitute Jack Grealish and Kane for his third goal of the tournament.
Sterling almost turned to villain six minutes later when he passed to Havertz who sent Mueller on his way.
But the recalled Bayern Munich forward aimed wide right with only Pickford to beat.
However, it was all over for Germany and Loew when Kane headed home off Grealish which set off incredible scenes as the dream of a first title since 1966 lives on.
Meanwhile, tears flowed on the German side this time around.
“We had a huge chance today to get past a strong team. We failed to take it and are massively disappointed,” Germany captain Manuel Neuer said.(dpa/NAN)