This was the richest form of vindication for Harry Kane, for Southgate and for England


Suddenly he was occupying those previously composed German defenders; harrying and hassling and holding the ball up when before it was coming back time and again as he just appeared to have taken a step in the wrong direction or reacted too late.

The final whistle came and Kane led the celebrations. With one arm around Sterling and another around Grealish it was clear what this meant. The relief of all it. He had broken his competition duck and looked lighter and he has to go on from here. Not be a one-game (a one-half?) wonder at the Euros.

After all, his goal was just his first in five games and only his third in 13 which is a remarkably poor return for such an accomplished centre-forward who is the focus of his country’s attack. He has found his moment but, despite the occasion, despite the opponent, despite the slice of history, it is not enough. Not yet anyway.

Another quarter-final beckons. England have such a glorious chance and they now need Kane to lead from the front the way he can. His goal needs to be the key. He no longer has that pressure or that scrutiny. He has scored for England in a knock-out game in a major finals and against a leading nation, and few have done that. Now how far can Kane and England go?


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