England have overcome their biggest hurdle and can now dream of Euro 2020 glory

This was football drama.

This was 90 minutes of nerve-shredding tension.

This was agony and ecstasy rolled into an afternoon that ended out our last big psychological hurdle in international football.

This was history. Payback for Italia ’90, Euro ’96 and the World Cup in 2010 and, for even older fans, 1970. Yes, the rivalry may have been one-sided but for us fans left broken-hearted on so many occasions in major tournaments this was catharsis.

A moment to explain to our kids why it mattered. Why the bad feeling we’d had about this one was more than justified.

This was vindication for Raheem Sterling. The man so many England fans believed shouldn’t even have been in the starting line-up at the start of this European Championship after being left out of his club side, Manchester City, by Pep Guardiola.

Sterling rewarded Southgate for his persistent faith

This was a moment for Gareth Southgate to savour. He kept faith with Sterling when so many other England bosses would have bowed to the pressure of standing him down.

This was Harry Kane’s redemption after his inability to reproduce his Premier League and World Cup form in our three group games. Wembley erupted when he headed in that late goal to get his European Championships off and running.

This was John Stones’ moment. His riposte to all those who dreamt of him being our libero during his early years then lost faith and wrote him off when he made the mistakes that other nations would have forgiven.

This was in many ways a frustrating match to watch with so many sideways and backwards passes from our players in the first half with better options available.

This was scary in those opening minutes when we couldn’t get the ball, we couldn’t keep the ball and Germany looked as though they would kill the game before it had even started.

This was fun at the start when the PA system blaring out Sweet Caroline ahead of kick-off sparked a party atmosphere in the stadium.

Just how important was it for England to defeat Germany? Comment below.

This was cringe-inducing and predictable in equal measure when England booed the German national anthem and then the knee.

This was heartening at least when the majority of home fans responded to the knee barracking with loud applause to drown it out.

This was agonising when Kane looked as though he’d sweep in the loose ball after Sterling had been crowded out by three players – only to see Mats Hummels sweep the ball off the England captain’s toes.

This was the moment the draw started to open up – yes, I’m going to say it. England have a record against all of the teams left in their half of the draw that can give them confidence heading into the business end of the tournament.

This was about England’s togetherness. The camaraderie that has taken the squad through the brickbats they’ve had as other countries sparkled and they’d failed to impress.

This was incredible, to hear Wembley exploding in adulation as the England players went on that lap of honour in the minutes after the final whistle.

This was England, clicking into gear. Finding a way to win when the going got tough.

This is the start of a new chapter in our football history, being written by a group of young men who know how to win with their clubs.

In terms of England’s hoodoo over Germany, this was the end.

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