England vs. Germany: Final score 0-1, Germany cruise at Wembley

Alexander Hassenstein

Per Mertesacker's goal earned Germany a win on an easy day for the visitors at Wembley.

After suffering defeat at the hands of Alexis Sanchez and Chile on Friday, England were looking to bounce back with a win against Germany at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately for the Three Lions, Germany were not obliging guests, holding the hosts at arms' length throughout and ensuring that Per Mertesacker's halftime goal would be enough to secure a 1-0 win.

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England started brightly, making repeated forays into German territory. The visitors, denied three world-class midfielders thanks to injury, were relying on the Bender twins to hold the line. For a while, it looked as though the pair would crack, but as the half rolled on, Germany grew into the match, becoming more and more robust through the centre.

And then they struck from a set piece. Mertesacker got free of Chris Smalling on a corner, forcing Joe Hart into a fine save at his near post, but the warning wasn't heeded and the Arsenal man had the ball in the back of the net just a minute later. This time, the corner was partially cleared before being knocked back into the box. Again, Mertesacker peeled off Smalling, but unlike his earlier effort Hart had no chance to keep it out.

The second half saw Germany focus on counterattacking as England poured forwards in search of the equaliser. The visitors looked the more likely to score, with Hart forced into another crucial save just after the break when Marco Reus broke free, but that's not to say that England didn't have their chances.

Andros Townsend might have pulled the hosts level when he fired a left-footed shot past Weidenfeller from 25 yards only to see the ball cannon off the post. That was to prove England's last serious chance; the rest of the game saw the Three Lions struggle to hold off Germany as they probed time and again on the break.

It wasn't all sunshine for the visitors, though -- having already lost Sami Khedira to a long-term injury last week, Germany saw key defender Mats Hummels go off hurt just after the hour mark. Was it worth a friendly win over England? Time will tell.

England starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Ashley Cole (Kieran Gibbs 53'), Chris Smalling, Phil Jagielka, Kyle Walker; Steven Gerrard (Jordan Henderson 56'), Tom Cleverley (Jack Wilshere 64'); Adam Lallana (Rickie Lambert 77'), Wayne Rooney (Ross Barkley 71'), Andros Townsend; Daniel Sturridge.

Goals: Mertesacker 39'.

Germany starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Roman Weidenfeller; Heiko Westermann (Julian Draxler 66'), Jerome Boateng (Mats Hummels 45' (Benedickt Howedes 66')), Per Mertesacker, Marcel Schmelzer (Marcel Jansen 45'); Sven Bender, Lars Bender; Marco Reus (Andre Schurrle 82'), Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze; Max Kruse (Sidney Sam 56').

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