ENGLAND looked like a team in desperate need of a good bed before the time Harry Kane assumed a horizontal position in the German penalty area.
But even though they have been outscored for long periods by technically superior Germany, the Three Lions are always sniffing when it comes to the Tottenham striker.
Kane ‘win’ the 85th minute penalty after contact with Nico Schlotterbeck in the way the English used to moan about Jurgen Klinsmann winning them many moons ago.
But since we’re talking about our future Mr. Harry, we’re just going to call it street-wise professionalism and enjoy half a century of goals from just 71 caps.
It meant Gareth Southgate’s men avoided the outrage of back-to-back defeats for the first time in nearly four years and stopped them from going into a possible spiral of negativity five months away from the World Cup.
England seems to have regressed individually and collectively since they defeated Germany at last summer’s euro.
Few Southgate players have had great seasons at club level and they haven’t looked convincing too often as a team, since that Wembley penalty shootout defeat.
They lacked ambition until the 72nd minute of Jack Grealish’s introduction, which helped turn the tide.
But England can always rely on Kane – a Golden Boot winner at the last World Cup and a man who never seems to know when he’s beaten, always knows where the target is, and also possesses a cunning that Southgate certainly appreciates.
It was a soft penalty rather than a shock – perhaps not a decision you would expect VAR to overturn and reward.
But he did it – and Kane sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way to cancel Jonas Hofmann’s opener.
It rejected the Southgate team – spitting cream after long domestic campaigns – in this League of Nations campaign.
It would not have been right for England to shoot at Germany full of bravery after that euro victory that ended Joachim Loew’s long reign in charge of Die Mannschaft.
So Saturday’s shock defeat in Hungary at least weakened any overconfidence for Southgate’s side.
It was a pleasant surprise that there were only very limited problems in the city earlier in the day and the Germans treated their visitors to a pre-match explosion of Football’s Coming Home – an anthem they adopted after winning Euro 96.
The atmosphere was so calm that it felt as if the Germans were handing out free tickets to tens of thousands of librarians.
The German team, in fact, played in a draw – wearing their women’s team suit as proof of support for their female counterparts ahead of this summer’s Euros in England.
Southgate sent in its A-listers – including ten of the starting eleven who defeated Germany last summer – but returned to a flat back four, all of whom struggled once.
England made a foul start, Kieran Trippier conceding a corner with a shocking back pass and Kyle Walker hacking off Josh Kimmich’s line.
An early Kane shot stabbed Neuer in the hands – but the Germans often made their way across the English lines with shades of Bloemfontein in 2010.
Bayern Munich teenager Jamal Musiala – a German-born but English-raised and under-21 international for the Three Lions – really likes the one who ran away for Southgate.
The child has protruding feet in confined spaces, he looks as if he could muzzle an octopus inside a telephone box, and England has not been able to handle him.
Twice in the first 25 minutes, the hosts had the ball in the net but neither counted.
First, when Calvin Phillips came down injured and England kicked the ball into touch, Germany did not stand during a ceremony and Thomas Muller netted but referee Carlos del Cerro Grande had none of their skulduggery.
Phillips limped off and was replaced by Jude Bellingham but soon a long ball over the top embarrassed Harry Maguire, who tried to wrestle Kai Havertz, while Jonas Hoffman stepped through and cracked past Jordan Pickford, only to be frustrated by a narrow offside decision.
England had their moments though – Kane flared up close as Neuer struck at a Trippier corner and Bukayo Saka had a shot beaten away by the German keeper for an unexplained eight minutes of first-half injury time.
It was remarkable that the first half ended seamlessly, with no defense looking convincing.
England barely touched the ball in the opening five minutes of the second half, when Germany won.
It was a long, elegant passing move that pulled England in one direction, then the other, and ended with a sweet Kimmich pass feeding Hofmann, who rammed it past Pickford.
Almost immediately, Mount had a powerful shot repulsed by Neuer, before Pickford made a smart near-post save from Muller.
Grealish’s arrival gave England more attacking intent – and Neuer soon made good saves to prevent Maguire’s head and Kane’s throw at the far post.
And when Kane fell after a push and slip from Schlotterbeck, he made no mistake with the spot kick that allowed him to lift his bat for half a century.