The fixture that used to leave England squads seeing ghosts is now the fixture that leaves an England squad seeing a glorious opportunity.
Marcus Rashford listened to history being relayed at St George’s Park on Thursday, of those miserable experiences at the hands of Germany in Turin, London and Bloemfontein, but was completely unflustered by it all. His reason was simple: why should England be worried by a name?
Tradition may demand that a collision with Germany be viewed with trepidation but Rashford embodies the youth and fearlessness in Gareth Southgate’s squad. No sleep will be lost ahead of a date at Wembley that has the potential to create legends.
Fearless Marcus Rashford insists England are ready to make history at Euro 2020
‘We are blessed to be part of that history,’ Rashford said. ‘Our main focus is to win the game — if we do, it gets put in history. That’s how great teams are remembered.
‘There is no point fearing the past. You can’t go back and change it. What we can change is the result of the next game. It is a game with a lot of top players involved, so as players they are the ones you look forward to.
‘You want to test yourself against the best. To win the tournament, we are going to have to beat the best teams. It is as simple as that. So we have to be up for it — we have to be ready, go there and try to win the game.’
England received a visit from pop star Ed Sheeran on Wednesday evening, entertaining the squad with some of his songs over a BBQ, but it was Rashford who struck all the right notes when he discussed the possibilities this tournament now offers.
England have had plenty of miserable experiences at the hands of Germany over the years
England were dumped out of the World Cup semi-finals on penalties by Germany in 1990
Topping Group D has created a clear path to the final and it will become even more straightforward if the Germans are dispatched. Why, then, should they be fretting about tussles that took place before many of them were even born?
The reality is they won’t be. Southgate might have his own personal story with Germany but it wasn’t mentioned at all in training on Thursday. He did not try to build it up or give it added emphasis — that is